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Belt and Road

Belt and Road provides exporters with a brief analysis of political and economic risks for the countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Flag and map of Estonia

 
Key Information
Capital   Tallinn
Population   1.2 million
Area   45,228 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1187 USD as of 23 July 2019)
Official language   Estonian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 16 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 32 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 36 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery & equipment (24.2%)   Machinery & equipment (24.2%)
Mineral products (15.0)   Mineral products (15.2%)
Timber products (13.1%)   Chemicals (13.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Finland (15.9%)   Finland (12.9%)
Sweden (10.9%)   Germany (10.4%)
Latvia (9.5%)   Lithuania (8.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Estonia (Estonia) is a parliamentary republic. Current president, Kersti Kaljulaid, sworn in as the country’s first female head of the state in 2016. The legislature is a unicameral assembly (Riigikogu) with 101 members. In March 2019, centre-right opposition Reform Party won the parliamentary election with 34 seats which outperformed the ruling Centre Party, but it failed to gather support to form a coalition government. In April 2019, a coalition government led by Juri Ratas was formed, comprising the Centre Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the conservative Pro Patria. The next presidential election is due to be held in 2021 and parliamentary election in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Estonia is one of the Baltic states, along with Latvia and Lithuania, and is one of the least populous member states of the European Union (EU). The country is a small and highly open economy. Economic growth has grown over 3.5% in the past 3 years, supported by strong private and public investment. The country stands out in the EU for its lowest level of gross government debt, which stood at 8.3% of GDP in 2018. However, potential growth over the medium term will be constrained by labor supply and slow productivity growth. In May 2019, Moody's affirmed Estonia's issuer ratings at A1 with a stable outlook. The affirmation reflects the economy’s dynamism and resilience, low government debts and susceptibility to geopolitical risks.

Hong Kong – Estonia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Estonia increased by 32.1% from HK$1,150 million in 2017 to HK$1,518 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Estonia were: (1) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+18.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+57.5%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+59.6%), which represented 71.1% of total exports to Estonia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Estonia buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Estonia has been satisfactory with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 23 July 2019

           
Flag and map of Belarus

 
Key Information
Capital   Minsk
Population   9.5 million
Area   207,600 sq km
Currency   Belarusian rubel (1 USD = 2.032 BYN as of 18 July 2019)
Official language   Belarusian and Russian
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 37 out of 190 in 2019 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 103 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2017)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2017)
Intermediate goods (54.5%)   Intermediate goods (55.6%)
Consumer goods (19.8%)   Investment goods (23.1%)
Investment goods (18.1%)   Consumer goods (16.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Russia (38.4%)   Russia (58.9%)
Ukraine (12.1%)   China (8.2%)
UK (9.1%)   Germany (4.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Belarus declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The country is a post-communist state, headed by president Alyaksandar Lukashenka, who has been in office since 1994. He was re-elected in October 2015 with 83.5% of the popular vote. The national legislature is a bicameral parliament consisting of the Council of the Republic (upper house) with 64 members and the House of Representatives (lower house) with 110 members. The political opposition is limited in size, and is composed of only a handful of parties and movements that have no chance of accessing power. The next presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 2020. 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The cyclical recovery of the Belarusian economy continued in 2018 with real GDP growth reaching 3.0%. Higher oil prices and robust external demand have supported exports. Economic growth has been accompanied by an impressive fall in the number of households below the poverty line and an increase in household income. However, the country remains heavily relied on loans from Russia and Russian-led organizations. Over 40% of Belarus' government debt is to Russia, and Russia's willingness to extend bilateral financing to Belarus has been an important factor enabling Belarus to meet its financial obligations on time and in full. In April 2019, S&P affirmed its 'B/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Belarus with a stable outlook. The ratings on Belarus remain supported by the financial assistance it receives from the Russian government, despite recurring disputes between the two countries.

Hong Kong – Belarus Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Belarus increased by 20.0% from HK$ 678 million in 2017 to HK$ 813 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Belarus were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+9.5%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+98.4%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+41.2%), which represented 94.8% of total exports to Belarus.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Belarus buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019), there was no insured business on Belarus.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 18 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Syria

 
Key Information
Capital   Damascus
Population   18.3 million
Area   185,180 sq km
Currency   Syrian pound (1 USD = 515 SYP as of 17 July 2019)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 179 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 138 out of 160 in 2018
 
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Lebanon (17.2%)   Russia (31.2%)
Iraq (13.3%)   Turkey (15.9%)
Spain (9.7%)   China (10.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Syrian Arab Republic (“Syria”) is a republic where the president is elected for a seven-year term. The president appoints the vice-president, the prime minister and the council of ministers. The current president, Bashar al-Assad, is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces and secretary-general of the Baath party. In 2011, Syria’s government faced an unprecedented challenge to its authority when pro-democracy protests erupted throughout the country. Protesters demanded an end to the authoritarian practices of the Assad regime, in place since Assad’s father, Ḥafiz al-Assad, became president in 1971. The conflict had expanded into a full-fledged civil war. Despite international efforts to end the civil war, a comprehensive peace deal is likely to remain elusive. Faced with severely diminished resources and ongoing international sanctions, the regime will remain reliant on financial support from Iran and Russia.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (only data from 2018 is available)

The conflict in Syria continues to take a heavy toll on the life of Syrian people and on the Syrian economy. The scale of destruction after nearly eight years of conflict is enormous, with economic activity held back by poor harvests, depressed oil output and the exodus of 5 million Syrian refugees. According to the World Bank, cumulative GDP loss is estimated at US$ 226 billion from 2011 to 2016. The impact of the Syrian crisis on its neighboring countries, in particular Lebanon and Jordan, has been significant where conservative estimates put the proportion of Syrian refugees at 25% and 10% of the countries’ populations respectively. A multi-donor trust fund, the Lebanon Syria Crisis Trust Fund (LSCTF), managed by the World Bank was established in 2014 with an aim to provide grant financing to projects that mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis.

Hong Kong – Syria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Syria decreased by 5.5% from HK$ 13.8 million in 2017 to HK$ 13.0 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Syria were: (1) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (+63.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+734.9%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-65.9%), which represented 57.7% of total exports to Syria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) currently does not provide cover on Syrian buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 July 2019

           
Flag and map of Jamaica

 
Key Information
Capital   Kingston
Population   2.8 million
Area   10,991 sq km
Currency   Jamaica Dollar (1 JMD = 0.0075 USD as of 17 July 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 75 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 79 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 113 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
USA (45.0%)   USA (43.7%)
EU (15.0%)   EU (7.4%)
Canada (9.6%)   Japan (6.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organization (WTO) 

Political Highlights

 

Jamaica declared its independence from Britain in 1962 and became a member of the British Commonwealth. The country is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She is represemted by the Governor-General, Sir Patrick Linton Allen since 2009, who was appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The national legislature is made up of a bicameral with 63-member House of Representatives (the lower house) and 21-member Senate (the upper house), with 13 seats allocated on the advice of the prime minister and eight on the advice of the leader of the opposition. The Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, and his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration secured five-seat parliamentary majority allowing the government to push on with its reform agenda including reducing public debt, maintaining macroeconomic stability, facilitating job creation and improving labour force productivity. The next general election is due in February 2021.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Jamaica is the largest island and most populated in the English-speaking Caribbean. The country is vulnerable to natural disasters, especially hurricanes, flooding and the effects of climate change. The economy is struggling to low growth, high public debt and exposure to external shocks. In 2013, the government launched a reform program aiming to stabilize the economy, reduce debt, fuel growth, gaining national and international support. According to the World Bank, the country’s debt level remained high but improving. Public debt fell below 100% of GDP in 2018/19 and is expected to decline further to below 60% by 2025/26. In Janurary 2019, Fitch has upgraded Jamaica's long-rerm foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to B+ from B with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Jamaica’s track record of large primary surpluses that have resulted in significantly lower general government debt-to-GDP ratio.

Hong Kong – Bosnia and Herzegovina Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Jamaica decreased by 13.0% from HK$74.8 million in 2017 to HK$65.1 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Jamaica were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-19.7%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-6.4%), and (3) general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (-3.7%), which represented 62.0% of total exports to Jamaica.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Jamaica buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Jamaica has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Peru

 
Key Information
Capital   Lima
Population   31.3 million
Area   1,285,216 sq km
Currency   Peruvian Sol (1 PEN = 0.3027 USD as of 24 June 2019)
Official language   Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
Form of government   Presidential democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 68 out of 190 in 2019 (↓10) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 63 out of 140 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 83 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Copper (30.4%)   Intermediate goods (49.0%)
Gold (16.8%)   Capital goods (27.8%)
Fishmeal (3.9%)   Consumption goods (22.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
China (28.7%)   China (24.1%)
USA (20.6%)   USA (20.4%)
South Korea (6.7%)   Brazil (5.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Peru (Peru) is a presidential republic with the president serving as both the head of state and head of government for a five-year term. Former Vice President Martin Vizcarra assumed the presidency when his predecessor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, resigned in March 2018 amid mounting allegations of corruption. Vizcarra formed a new ministerial cabinet. . The national legislature is made up of a congress, consisting of a 130-member single chamber. Vizcarra’s party, Peruanos Por el Kambio (PPK), only holds a small minority (11 out of 130 seats) in Congress. The political outlook remains challenging given perceptions of political weakness of the government. The next presidential and national legislative elections will take place in April 2021.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Peru’s two decades of strong economic growth have gradually led to the emergence of a growing middle class. However, the growth of market opportunities remain limited to urban areas. The majority of the population, particularly in rural areas, will continue to have low disposable income. Peru recorded an average annual GDP growth of 3.6% in 2013-17 and EIU expected growth of 4% in 2018-22. Although rapid economic growth over the past two decades has enabled Peru to catch up with the Latin American median in terms of GDP per head, it is still well below that of developed countries. In June 2019, Moody’s affirmed Peru’s long-term foreign-currency and local-currency issuer ratings at A3 with a stable outlook. The rating reflects the country’s moderate economic strength, the government very high fiscal strength and moderate institutional strength.

Hong Kong – Peru Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Peru increased by 19.7% from HK$3.37 billion in 2017 to HK$4.04 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Peru were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+24.4%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+27.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+9.9%), which represented 88.8% of total exports to Peru.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Peru buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Peru decreased 25.9% and 22.2% respectively, while insured business increased by 3.8%. Major insured products were clothing, office & stationery supplies and toys, which represented 83.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Peru. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Peru has been satisfactory with one payment difficultiy case case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 10 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Morocco

 
Key Information
Capital   Rabat
Population   36.2 million
Area   446,550 sq km
Currency   Moroccan Dirham (pegged to Euro and USD, 1 Euro = 10.7937 MAD as of 4 July 2019)
Official language   Arabic, Berber
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 60 out of 190 in 2019 (↑9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 75 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 109 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Fertilisers & chemicals (10.7%)   Fuel & lubricants (24.9%)
Finished clothes (8.6%)   Capital goods (22.5%)
Phosphoric acid (3.7%)   Semi-finished goods (20.7%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Spain (23.0%)   Spain (16.2%)
France (22.1%)   France (11.8%)
Brazil (7.3%)   China (9.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. The current king, Mohammed VI, came to the throne in 1999, on the death of his father King Hassan II. The King is the dominant political figure in the country and oversees the government policies. The national legislature is a bicameral system, consisting of a directly elected 395-seat lower House of Representatives and a 120-seat upper Chamber of Advisers indirectly elected by an electoral college. The king is required to ask a member of the largest party in the parliament to form a government. Saadeddine el-Othmani, of the Justice and Development Party (JDP), was appointed as prime minister and formed a cabinet in March 2017. The next election for the lower house is scheduled for October 2021.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Morocco has made significant efforts in strengthening the resilience of its economy in recent years. While economic activity has weakened since 2018 due to lower agricultural growth, which was only partially compensated by otherwise good performance of nonagricultural activities. The government has been reducing the economy's vulnerability to weather shocks by investing in more efficient technologies in the agricultural sector via the Green Morocco Plan, as well as diversifying the economy. However, the outlook remains subject to significant downside risks, including weaker growth in Morocco’s main trading partners, geopolitical risks, and volatile global financial conditions. In April 2019, S&P affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Morocco at 'BBB-/A-3'. The outlook is negative.

Hong Kong – Morocco Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Morocco increased by 11.5% from HK$1,300 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,449 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Morocco were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+8.0%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+40.5%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-18.7%), which represented 85.5% of total exports to Morocco.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Morocco buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Morocco has been satisfactory, with one claim payment case of small amount reported in the past 12 months (June 2018 to May 2019.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 June 2019

            
Flag and map of Russia

 
Key Information
Capital   Moscow
Population   146.8 million
Area   17,075,400 sq km
Currency   Russian ruble (1 USD = 63.085 RUB as of 27 June 2019)
Official language   Russian
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 31 out of 190 in 2019 (↑4)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 43 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 75 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Oil, fuel & gas (60.4%)   Machinery & equipment (48.7%)
Metals (13.4%)   Chemicals (17.8%)
Machinery & equipment (7.9%)   Food & agricultural products (12.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (10.9%)   China (21.2%)
Netherlands (10.0%)   Germany (10.6%)
Germany (7.7%)   USA (5.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Following a constitutional change in 2008, the president of Russia was elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term. The president appoints the prime minister with the consent of the State Duma. The prime minister is the head of the government who appoints deputy prime ministers and federal ministers. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Vladimir Putin, who has assumed office since 2000, serving two terms and then a four-year stint as prime minister, before resuming the presidency in 2012 and re-elected for a fourth term in March 2018. The country has a two-chamber legislative with 170 members in the Federation Council (upper house) and 450 members in the State Duma (lower house). The next legislative and presidential elections are due to be held in 2021 and 2024 respectively.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Russia is a major producer of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas, and is also a top exporter of metals. Sales of the hydrocarbons account for about 60% of Russia's exports, with metals contributing a little more than 13%. The country's reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the fluctuations in global prices. Economic growth accelerated in 2018, largely due to robust global growth, higher oil prices, one-off construction projects and Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, the poverty rate declined slightly to 12.9% in 2018 from 13.3% in 2017, thanks to growth in the main sources of income, wages and pensions.
However, downside risks to Russia’s medium-term growth outlook stem from the potential expansion of economic sanctions, renewed financial turmoil in emerging markets and developing economies, a souring global trade environment, and a dramatic drop in oil prices, according to the World Bank. On the upside, national projects aimed at strengthening human capital and increasing productivity, if well-implemented, could positively affect Russia’s potential growth in the medium-term
.

 

Hong Kong – Russia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Russia increased by 33.5% from HK$21.87 billion in 2017 to HK$29.19 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Russia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+47.8%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+6.1%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts (+16.9%), which represented 82.7% of total exports to Russia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Russian buyers, with the exception of those under sanctions. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 9.8% and increased by 36.3% respectively, while insured business increased by 22.5%. Major insured products were metallic products, chemical products and electronics, which represented 85.4% of HKECIC’s insured business on Russia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Russia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty case or claim case reported in the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 27 June 2019

       
Flag and map of Bulgaria

 
Key Information
Capital   Sofia
Population   7.1 million
Area   111,002 sq km
Currency   Bulgarian Leva (1 USD = 1.95583 BGN as of 25 June 2019))
Official language   Bulgarian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 59 out of 190 in 2019 (↓9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 51 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 52 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Raw materials (39.7%)   Raw materials (36.8%)
Investment goods (25.2%)   Investment goods (26.6%)
Consumer goods (24.8%)   Consumer goods (21.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Germany (14.8%)   Germany (12.4%)
Italy (8.6%)   Russia (9.7%)
Romania (8.5%)   Italy (7.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with president as the head of state, who is democratically elected to serve a five-year term. Current president Rumen Radev was sworn into office in January 2017. The prime minister, being the leader of the largest political party in the National Assembly, serves as the head of government for a four-year term. Current prime minister is Boyko Borisov, who had previously held this post on two separate occasions, from 2009 until 2013 and from 2014 until January 2017. The country adopts a unicameral legislative with 240 members in the National Assembly. In the parliamentary election held in March 2017, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) won the largest number of seats, but still required the support of other political parties to secure a majority in the National Assembly. The next parliamentary election is due in March 2021.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Bulgaria joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. The country’s economic growth picked up since 2015 after having been hit by the global and eurozone crises. The economy is estimated to grow by 3.2% in 2018, supported by the buoyant domestic demand and is projected to maintain its momentum in 2019. According to a flash estimate by the National Statistical Institute, real GDP grew by 3.4% yr/yr in Q1 2019, accelerating from 3.2% in Q4 2018. The growth was mostly driven by the exports of goods and services, which advanced by 5% yr/yr in Q1, up from 1.4% in the previous quarter.

While economic performance remains robust, risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside amid slowing external demand, according to the IMF. Also, Bulgaria’s income level is just half of the EU average and income inequality is high among EU countries. The IMF emphasized the need for the country to implement broad-based structural reforms to boost potential growth and accelerate EU income convergence, amongst other things.
 

Hong Kong – Bulgaria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Bulgaria increased by 30.9% from HK$794 million in 2017 to HK$1,039 million in 2018. The top three export categories to the Bulgaria were: (1) telecommunications, audio & video equipment (+43.3%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+38.6%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+4.0%), which represented 89.8% of total exports to Bulgaria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Bulgarian buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 25.0% and 21.0% respectively, while insured business increased by 21.4%. Major insured products were electronics, electrical appliances and metallic products, which represented 98.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on Bulgaria. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Bulgaria has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019)

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 25 June 2019

       
Flag and map of Cuba

 
Key Information
Capital   Havana
Population   11.5 million
Area   110,860 sq km
Currency   Cuban peso (1 USD = 26.5 CUP as of 19 June 2019)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Centrialised political system

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Cuba (Cuba) has a centralized political system, with close identification between the Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) and the state. The PCC is the only legal political party. Candidates for the National Assembly are chosen by Candidacy Commissions chaired by local trade union officials and composed of elected representatives of "mass organisations" representing workers, young people, women, students and farmers. Miguel Díaz-Canel took over Raúl Castro as president in April 2018, while Raúl retains the real power as head of the Communist Party and the Cuban military, and his family controls much of the economy. A constitutional reform has been officially codified in April 2019, and stipulated that a new electoral law be introduced within three months. The new law will officially spell out the duties of president and prime minister.

Due to Cuba’s humanitarian and political aid in Venezuela, the US has imposed new travel restrictions to Cuba in June 2019. The US no longer permits visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, as well as private and corporate aircraft. Other sanctions, including restriction on Venezuelan oil shipments to Cuba and remittances from Cuban-Americans to relatives in Cuba, has put pressure on Cuba's external sector.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit 


The Cuba economy has limited access to foreign exchange as a result of US sanctions. In the light of US sanctions announced in June 2019, which ended cruise ship tourism to Cuba, EIU has reduced its real GDP growth forecast for 2019 to 0.1%. The domestic retail trade is dominated by the state and the network of state-owned shops sell in foreign currency to both Cubans and foreigners, while separate outlets owned by the state sell in Cuban pesos. There is limited information available on consumer-spending patterns. Much of the labor force performs low-productivity functions in Cuba’s bloated government sector. Excessive bureaucracy and the lack of regulatory transparency continue to limit trade and investment.

Hong Kong – Cuba Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Cuba decreased by 23.1% from HK$ 41.1 million in 2017 to HK$ 31.6 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Cuba were: (1) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+46.0%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-77.4%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-68.7%), which represented 85.3% of total exports to Cuba.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Cuba buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019), there was no insured business on Cuba.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 19 Jun 2019

           
Flag and map of Equatorial Guinea

 
Key Information
Capital   Malabo
Population   1.27 million
Area   28,051 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (1 USD = 582.66 XOF as of 4 June 2019)
Official language   Spanish, French and Portuguese
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 177 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 136 out of 160 in 2018
 
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
China (27.1%)   Spain (7.4%)
India (11.4%)   China (7.0%)
South Korea (9.9%)   USA (4.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Equatorial Guinea is a presidential republic. The president is both the head of state and head of government, elected by universal suffrage for a seven-year term. In the presidential election held in April 2016, incumbent President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979, retained his office with 93.7% of the votes. Francisco Pascual Obama Asus was appointed as prime minister and formed a government in June 2016. The legislature is a bicameral parliament. The lower house consists of 100 members elected by universal suffrage, who serve a five-year term. The upper house has 70 members who serve a five-year term. The legislative election which took place in 2017 saw the ruling Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial (PDGE) secure all but one seat in parliament.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Equatorial Guinea is bordered in the north by Cameroon, in the east and south by Gabon, and to the west by the Gulf of Guinea. It is well endowed with arable land and mineral resources ranging from gold, oil, uranium, diamond, columbite-tantalite and petroleum. After the discovery of large oil reserves in the 1990s, the country has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. While the country’s real GDP growth has been weak in recent years, largely due to a trend decline of the dominant hydrocarbon sector. Economic performance deteriorated substantially in the wake of the 2014 oil price shock and intensified further in 2015. The lower oil prices prompted producers to cut costs, resulting in lower production. To restore its external and fiscal imbalances, Equatorial Guinea is undertaking a number of reforms and entered into an IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP) in May 2018. The SMP focuses on reducing the fiscal deficit and addressing critical weaknesses in public financial management, as well as improving the business climate and supporting economic diversification.

Hong Kong – Equatorial Guinea Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Equatorial Guinea increased by 631.0% from HK$2.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 18.7 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Equatorial Guinea were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+2182.3%), (2) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-4.5%), and (3) meat and meat preparations (N/A), which represented 96.3% of total exports to Equatorial Guinea.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Equatorial Guinea buyers. In the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019), there was no insured business on Equatorial Guinea.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 5 June 2019

           
Flag and map of Micronesia (Federated States of)

 
Key Information
Capital   Palikir
Population   0.1 million
Area   702 sq km
Currency   USD
Official language   English
Form of government   Federal republic in free association with the US
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 160 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5) 
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 128 out of 160 in 2018

Source: CIA

Political Highlights

 

Federation of Micronesia (Micronesia) is located in the Western Pacific, consisting of some 600 islands grouped into four states including Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk (Truk) and Yap. It has been in free association with the US since 1986. The country has signed a "Compact of Free Association" with the US, under which the US took on responsibility for defence and gained the right to set up military bases and deny other nations access to Micronesia. In return, Micronesia received financial assistance from the US per year, and the right of Micronesians to live and work in the US. The country's biggest challenge is to find a way of lessening its dependence on foreign aid, with tourism seen as one possibility.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Micronesia has a narrow production base primarily comprising subsistence farming and fishing, and government, which employs two-thirds of the adult working population. The country’s potential for tourism is limited by isolation, lack of adequate facilities, and limited internal air and water transportation. The economy of the Micronesia has performed well in recent years. GDP growth has remained higher than its historical average, albeit at a slower pace in 2018 due to a contraction in construction. The country’s medium-term challenges include climate change and weak private sector growth. According to IMF, developing diverse sources for contingent natural disaster financing to cope with climate change and increasing access to finance, improving the investment climate, and reducing impediments to doing business in order to promote pricate sector would be vital.

Hong Kong – Micronesia (Federated States of) Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Micronesia decreased by 30.4% from HK$ 26.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 18.5 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Micronesia were: (1) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+49.0%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-78.2%), and (3) footwear (+70.0%), which represented 41.5% of total exports to Micronesia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Micronesia buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Micronesia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 29 May 2019

           
Flag and map of Liberia

 
Key Information
Capital   Monrovia
Population   4.7 million
Area   111,370 sq km
Currency   Liberian Dollar (1 USD = 184.875 LRD as of 24 May 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 174 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 132 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 143 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Rubber (33.2%)   Food & live animals (25.6%)
Gold (32.3%)   Machinery & transport equipment (22.4%)
Iron ore (22.2%)   Mineral products (21.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Switzerland (64.4%)   China (25.7%)
USA (9.2%)   Côte d'Ivoire (12.8%)
France (8.8%)   Netherlands (7.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Liberia is a presidential republic wherein the president is the head of state and head of government elected by universal suffrage for a six-year term. Liberia’s politician and former professional footballer George Weah sworn in as president in January 2018, marking the first peaceful transfer of power in the country in decades. The president appoints the prime minister with the consent and confirmation of the Senate. The country adopts a bicameral legislative consisting of the Senate (upper house) with 30 members serving for a term of nine years and the House of Representatives (lower house) with 73 members elected by popular vote to serve a six-year term. The next presidential and legislative elections are due to be held in 2023.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Liberia has been listed on the Least Developed Countries by the United Nations since 1990. The economy expanded by an estimated 1.2% in 2018, a significant slowdown from 2.5% in 2017. Despite a 24.2% year-over-year expansion in the mining sector, the non-mining sector, which accounts for about 90% of the country’s GDP, contracted by 1.3% in 2018. The Liberian dollar depreciated by 26% year-over-year against the US dollar, pushing inflation to 28% by end December 2018. This is detrimental to the living standards of the most vulnerable Liberians who earn and spend primarily in Liberian dollars. In March 2019, the IMF lowered Liberia’s 2019 GDP growth forecast to 0.4% from 4.7%, citing macroeconomic stability has proved elusive despite improved revenue collection in the first half of 2019, and the fiscal stance has loosened significantly.

 

Hong Kong – Liberia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Liberia increased by 90.9% from HK$21.24 million in 2017 to HK$40.54 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Liberia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+96.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+115.8%) and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (+162.3%), which represented 94.9% of total exports to Liberia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Liberian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Liberia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 24 May 2019

       
Flag and map of Italy

 
Key Information
Capital   Rome
Population   59.4 million
Area   301,333 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11775 USD as of 17 May 2019)
Official language   Italian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 51 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 31 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 19 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (36.0%)   Machinery & transport equipment (28.8%)
Chemicals & related products (13.0%)   Chemicals & related products (15.7%)
Food, drinks & tobacco (8.3%)   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (11.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (12.4%)   Germany (16.3%)
France (10.2%)   France (8.7%)
USA (9.0%)   China (7.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Italy is a parliamentary republic with president as the head of state, who is elected by both houses of parliament for a seven-year term. The president appoints the prime minister who chooses the ministers for various departments to form the government. Current president Sergio Mattarella was elected in January 2015. The country adopts a bicameral legislative consisting of a 315-seat Senate (upper house) and a 630-seat Chamber of Deputies (lower house). In the general election held in March 2018, no political party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament. Subsequently, Giuseppe Conte became Italy’s prime minister on 1 June 2018 with the support from the League and the Five Star Movement which agreed to form a coalition government, putting an end to three months of political turmoil. The next parliamentary election is due in March 2023.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Italy is the third-largest economy in the Eurozone. The economy has experienced modest recovery in recent years after suffering from the global financial crisis 2008-09 and subsequent Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. However, economic growth slowed in 2018, reflecting slower growth in the Eurozone, adverse terms of trade, and higher domestic policy uncertainty as evidenced in elevated sovereign borrowing costs, according to the International Monetary Fund. In addition, Italy was the only Eurozone’s state to enter recession in the last two quarters in 2018. Facing a gloomy outlook for the economy, the Italian government has lowered the country’s 2019 growth forecast to 0.2% in April 2019, down from a 1.0% growth it projected in December 2018. In April 2019, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its unsolicited long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Italy at 'BBB/A-2' with a negative outlook.

 

Hong Kong – Italy Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Italy increased by 10.9% from HK$25.54 billion in 2017 to HK$28.31 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Italy were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+23.7%), (2) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+5.3%) and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+11.1%), which represented 61.2% of total exports to Italy.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Italy. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 5.9% and increased by 3.0% respectively, while insured business increased by 1.7%. Major insured products were electronics, clothing and printed matters, which represented 65.5% of HKECIC’s insured business on Italy. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Italy has been acceptable, with six payment difficulty cases and 12 claim payment cases reported in the past 12 months (May 2018 to April 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 May 2019

       
Flag and map of Tonga

 
Key Information
Capital   Nuku'alofa
Population   0.1 million
Area   748 sq km
Currency   Tongan Pa'anga (1 USD = 2.27710 TOP as of 15 May 2019)
Official language   English and Tongan
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 91 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
New Zealand (17.2%)   New Zealand (37.4%)
Australia (13.9%)   USA (12.9%)
USA (13.8%)   Australia (12.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is made up of about 170 islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean. The country had long been a British Protectorate since it signed a Treaty of Friendship with the United Kingdom in 1900. It became fully independent after the Treaty came to an end in 1970 and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in the same year. As a constitutional monarchy, the King of Tonga acts as the head of state and the chief commander of the armed forces, while the prime minister is the head of government who is appointed by the King. The country adopts a unicameral legislature consisting of 26 members in the Legislative Assembly. The next national election is due in 2022. 
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Tonga’s economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture, which is heavily dependent on weather conditions. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The two major sources of foreign currency are the remittances of Tongans living abroad and tourism. Besides, fisheries, marine biodiversity and coral reefs are a critical part of Tonga’s growing tourism industry, estimated at 7.7% of annual GDP, according to the World Bank.

The economy is also reliant on financial grants and loans from a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand, China, as well as international organizations. In April 2019, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$10 million grant to support Tonga which aimed to improve fisheries governance in Tonga’s tuna longline, deep water snapper and inshore commercial fisheries, through enhanced licensing, registration and fishing rights frameworks.



 

Hong Kong – Tonga Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Tonga increased by 85.1% from HK$3.3 million in 2017 to HK$6.1 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Tonga were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+132.9%), (2) special transactions and commodities not classified according to kind (+32.4%) and (3) manufactures of metals (+5250.0%), which represented 84.1% of total exports to Tonga.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Tonga buyers. In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Tonga.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 May 2019

       
Flag and map of Madagascar

 
Key Information
Capital   Antananarivo
Population   25.1 million
Area   592,000 sq km
Currency   Ariary (1 MGA = 0.0003 USD as of 7 May 2019)
Official language   Malagasy, French
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 161 out of 190 in 2019 (↑1) 
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 128 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Nickel and cobalt (13.7%)   Capital goods (14.3%)
Cloves (5.7%)   Raw materials (14.1%)
Titanium ore and zirconium (2.3%)   Consumer goods (12.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
France (23.8%)   China (22.7%)
USA (19.6%)   UAE (8.3%)
Germany (7.5%)   India (8.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Madagascar is a unitary republic with president serves as the head of the state. The current president, Andry Rajoelina, took office in January 2019. It was the first time in the history of Madagascar since its independence that a democratic power transfer and a peaceful power transition took place. Christian Ntsay was reappointed as prime minister in January 2019 as the head of the government. The legislature is a National Assembly with 151 seats. Political stability remains fragile as the parliament was dissolved pending for new legislative elections to be held in late-May 2019. Of the 151 seats, 87 will be elected from single-member constituencies, using a first-past-the-post voting system. The remaining 64 seats will be filled using 32 two-seat constituencies, voted for using a party-list system with proportional representation. On 26 April, President Andry Rajoelina has postponed a constitutional referendum that was to be held alongside with the legislative election. The referendum proposes two major changes to the constitution including the abolition of the Senate and the devolution of new powers to enhanced regional governorships.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Madagascar, a country in southern Africa located in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique, is the fifth largest island in the world. The country produces acound 80% of the world’s vanilla. Its economic strength is based on the agricultural sector, including fishing and forestry, which represents about 25% of GDP and employs around 80% of the population in 2017. Economic growth accelerated in 2018, driven by a recovery in agriculturewhich the output has been recovering from drought, cyclones and flood in previous years. However, government revenue and spending remains heavily relied on donor aid. In 2016, IMF approved a 40-month arrangement for US$347mn Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which aimed to support the country’s effort to reinforce macro stability and boost sustained and inclusive growth. As a low-income country with an open economy, the country remains vulnerable to external shocks.

Hong Kong – Madagascar Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Madagascar increased by 2.9% from HK$ 310 million in 2017 to HK$ 319 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Madagascar were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-15.9%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+19.1%), and (3) machinery specialized for particular industries (+78.3%), which represented 64.3% of total exports to Madagascar.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Madagascar buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Madagascar.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 7 May 2019       

Flag and map of Luxembourg

 
Key Information
Capital   Luxembourg City
Population   0.6 million
Area   2,586 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11877 USD as of 6 May 2019)
Official language   Luxembourgish, French and German
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 66 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 19 out of 140 in 2018 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 24 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (84.1%)   Manufactured products (74.5%)
Agricultural products (9.1%)   Agricultural products (13.1%)
Fuel and mining products (4.4%)   Fuel and mining products (12.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Germany (28.2%)   Belgium (34.1%)
Belgium (19.2%)   Germany (26.6%)
France (15.7%)   France (12.2%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO) 

Political Highlights

 

Luxembourg is a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy, with hereditary succession in the Nassau family. The head of state is Grand Duke Henri, since the abdication of his father Grand Duke Jean in 2000. The Luxembourg population elects the 60 members of parliament (Chamber of Deputies) through a universal, proportional suffrage for a five-year term. Following the general election held in October 2018, the three-party governing coalition of the centre-right Democratic Party (DP) and two left-of-centre parties, the Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Greens, remained in office. The coalition parties won 31 out of the 60 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and continue to be led by Xavier Bettel of the DP as prime minister. The next general election is scheduled to be held in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Luxembourg has benefited from strong growth in recent years compared with other developed countries, supported by sound economic policies and favorable global conditions. Its GDP per capita is one of the highest among the sovereigns. The financial and business services sectors are Luxembourg's key industries, supporting its role as a financial hub and contributing to its prosperity. According to the IMF in March 2019, real GDP growth is projected to remain robust in 2019, notwithstanding some deceleration over the medium term reflecting weaker global economic prospects. In March 2019, S&P s affirmed its 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Luxembourg. The rating outlook is stable. The ratings on Luxembourg reflect its prosperous economy, transparent and effective institutional framework, prudent budgetary policies, and recurrent external surpluses.

Hong Kong – Luxembourg Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Luxembourg increased by 46.9% from HK$383 million in 2017 to HK$ 563 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Luxembourg were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+71.0%), (2) other transport equipment (+1372.2%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (-41.6%), which represented 75.5% of total exports to Luxembourg.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Luxembourg buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on South Africa decreased by 51.0% and 75.1% respectively, and insured business decreased by 3.6%. Major insured products were toys, artificial flowers and clothing, which represented 85.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Luxembourg. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Luxembourg has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty cases in the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), involving clothing.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 6 May 2019

            
Flag and map of Barbados

 
Key Information
Capital   Bridgetown
Population   0.28 million
Area   731 sq km
Currency   Barbados dollar (pegged to the US dollar at BBD 2:USD 1)
Official language   English
Form of government   Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 129 out of 190 in 2019 (↑3)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2015*)
Chemicals (15.7%)   Food & beverages (22.0%)
Rum (15.6%)   Fuel (16.3%)
Other food & beverages (12.8%)   Chemicals (5.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (25.8%)   USA (39.6%)
Trinidad and Tobago (7.5%)   Trinidad and Tobago (16.8%)
Jamaica (5.9%)   China (5.8%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Barbados is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. It is a member country of The Commonwealth, recognizing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and she is represented by a governor-general. The governor-general appoints the leader of the largest party in parliament as prime minister. The legislature is bicameral consisting of the 21-member Senate (upper house) and 30-member House of Assembly (lower house). In the general election held in May 2018, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won all 30 seats in the lower house. Mia Mottley, the leader of the BLP, took office as prime minister for a five-year term. She is the first female prime minister since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.The next general election is due to be held in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Barbados economy, formerly a sugar monoculture, was developed over three decades to achieve a balance of growth and social development, and diversified into three main sectors: services, light industry and sugar. The offshore financial services sector, launched in 1985, has become the country’s second biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism. However, the global financial crisis led to a prolonged recession in Barbados, with a decade of low growth, and fiscal and external imbalances have gradually deepened. External imbalances have gradually led to an unsustainable situation, with very high debt, and very low reserves. The new government, which took office in May 2018, has committed to fiscal consolidation and structural reform as key tools for macroeconomic adjustment. The economy remained in recession in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is a result of the government's fiscal policy tightening, as well as weak consumption and investor sentiments, along with structural economic deficiencies. In November 2018, S&P raised its long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on Barbados to 'B-/B' from 'SD/SD' (Selective Default). In its latest statement, S&P noted that Barbados’ new administration has completed its local currency debt exchange, initiated an economic recovery plan, and received approval from multilateral lending institutions for new sources of financing.

Hong Kong – Barbados Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Barbados increased by 6.2% from HK$10.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 11.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Barbados were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-57.9%), (2) prefabricated buildings; sanitary, plumbing, heating and lighting fixtures and fittings (+269.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+2351.2%), which represented 60.7% of total exports to Barbados.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Barbados buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Barbados has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 May 2019

           
Flag and map of Ukraine

 
Key Information
Capital   Kiev
Population   42.4 million
Area   603,700 sq km
Currency   Ukrainian hryvnia (1 USD = 26.83812 UAH as of 23 April 2019)
Official language   Ukrainian
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 71 out of 190 in 2019 (↑5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 83 out of 140 in 2018 (↑6)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 66 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Food, beverages & agricultural products (41.0%)   Machinery & equipment (28.4%)
Non-precious metals (23.4%)   Fuel & energy (25.3%)
Machinery & equipment (11.3%)   Chemicals (13.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Russia (9.0%)   Russia (14.6%)
Poland (6.3%)   China (11.2%)
Turkey (5.8%)   Germany (10.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The president is the head of state directly elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. The president appoints the prime minister who serves as the head of the government. In April 2019, Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won the second round of a presidential election against incumbent Petro Poroshenko by a landslide 73% of the votes. The country adopts a unicameral legislative with 450 deputies in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). Currently, the largest faction in parliament is the European Solidarity, followed by the People’s Front. The next parliamentary election is scheduled to be held in October 2019. 
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: EIU


The economy of Ukraine is hinged on its activities on industry, agriculture and services sector as well as remittances from citizens working abroad. Ukraine's economy grew by 3.3% in 2018, the fastest pace since 2011. Domestic demand was the main growth driver. In particular, real wage growth of 12.5% and significant remittance inflows from abroad continued to support household consumption. The agricultural sector also enjoyed a record harvest during the year. However, the country faces substantial external debt repayments in 2019 and 2020. The government has about US$3 billion of external debt obligations coming due in the remainder of 2019 and US$5.5 billion in 2020.

In April 2019, S&P affirmed its 'B-/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Ukraine. The outlook is stable. The ratings on Ukraine reflect its low per capita income levels and its challenging institutional and political environment, which reduces policy predictability and continuity. Moreover, the ratings are constrained by Ukraine's external refinancing risks, reflecting its current account deficits and large external repayment.

 

 

Hong Kong – Ukraine Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Ukraine increased by 47.4% from HK$1,640 million in 2017 to HK$2,418 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Ukraine were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+49.8%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines   (+42.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+43.2%), which represented 88.2% of total exports to Ukraine.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Ukrainian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Ukraine.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 23 April 2019

       
Flag and map of Montenegro

 
Key Information
Capital   Podgorica
Population   0.61 million
Area   13,812 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1310 USD as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Montenegrin
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 50 out of 190 in 2019 (↓8)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 71 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 77 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Manufactured goods (excl machinery & equipment) (28.0%)   Machinery & equipment (24.0%)
Raw materials (excl fuel) (27.6%)   Food, beverages & tobacco (21.9%)
Food, beverages & tobacco (12.6%)   Manufactured goods (excl machinery & equipment) (17.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Serbia (17.7%)   Serbia (21.5%)
Bosnia and Hercegovina (12.7%)   China (9.6%)
Hungary (8.5%)   Germany (8.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Montenegro became an independent sovereign state from the former Union of Serbia and Montenegro following a referendum in 2006. The President is the head of state elected by universal sufferage for a five- year term. Curent president, Milo Djukanovic sworn in for his second term in May 2018, returing to a post he held between 1998-2002 when Montenegro was in a state union with Serbia. He was the leader of political party Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and has served as prime minister six times in the past 25 years. The legislature is a unicameral assembly with 81 seats. In October 2016, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and his ruling DPS formed a narrow majority with just 42 of the 81 seats in parliament backed by Social Democrats of Montenegro (SD) and various small ethnic minority parties. Political tensions remained high as Markovic has continued Djukanovic’s push for the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Front (DF), is pro-Russian and against the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Next parliamentary election is due to be held in October 2020, and presidential election in April 2023.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate  
Source: International Monetary Fund


Montenegro is a small open economy which relies on tourism and capital inflows from abroad. Economic growth rates were above 4% in 2017 and 2018 on the back of robust consumer demand and the implementation of large investment projects, including the construction of the Bar-Boljare Highway (a three-phase project to connect Montenegro and Serbia). However, the implementation of mega infrastructure projects has contributed to high budget deficits and rising government debt. The current account deficit is largely due to the rising construction-related imports. According to the European Commission, Montenegro’s economy is forecast to slow to 2.8% and 3.1% in 2019 and 2020 respectively, mainly affected by declining investment.

In March 2019, S&P affirmed Montenegro’s outlook as stable, maintaining its B+/B rating. S&P said many activities in the tourism and energy sector contributed to the economic growth. The country’s credit potential is also strengthened by the prospect of joining the European Union, which is accompanied by the strengthening of institutions.

Hong Kong – Montenegro Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Montenegro decreased by 12.8% from HK$51.4 million in 2017 to HK$44.8 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Montenegro were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-32.4%), (2) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+82.9%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+54.5%), which represented 91.7% of total exports to Montenegro.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Montenegrin buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC) with exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Montenegro.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 April 2019          

Flag and map of Slovakia

 
Key Information
Capital   Bratislava
Population   5.4 million
Area   49,037 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1310 USD as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Slovak
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 42 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 41 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 53 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (59.1%)   Machinery & transport equipment (48.6%)
Chemicals & related products (4.4%)   Chemicals & related products (9.0%)
Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (4.4%)   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (8.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (20.6%)   Germany (19.8%)
Czech Republic (11.6%)   Czech Republic (16.6%)
Poland (7.8%)   Austria (10.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The Slovak Republic (Slovakia) emerged as a parliamentary republic following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993. The president is the head of state elected directly for a five- year term and a maximum of two consecutive terms. On 22 March 2018, President Andrej Kiska appointed Peter Pellegrini from the ruling Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) as prime minister after Robert Fico resigned the position in wake of biggest protests in three decades. The legislature is a national council with 150 members elected for a four-year term by direct universal suffrage. In March 2019, Zuzana Caputova won the presidential election, making the nation’s first female president. She will take office in June 2019 and the next legislative election is due to be held in March 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Slovakia is a small open economy with its large concentration in automotive manufacturing. Taking the advantage of its free access to markets in Western Europe, Slovakia has been successful in bringing foreign investment to the country, especially in automotive industry. The country produced more than one million automotives for the fourth consecutive year in 2018. The country was supported by strong credit and jobs growth, with GDP expanded by about 3% annually during the last five years taking both the unemployment rate and the fiscal deficit to their lowest levels ever. On the external front, rising trade protectionism constitutes the main downside risk for the country with its large concentration in automotive manufacturing. In Jan 2019, Fitch affirmed Slovakia’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at A+ with a stable outlook. The rating reflected its sound macro-economic performance, supported by sustained, foreign capital inflows and European Union and Eurozone membership.

Hong Kong – Slovakia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Slovakia increased by 8.2% from HK$ 1.99 billion in 2017 to HK$ 2.15 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Slovakia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.9%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-4.5%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+5.3%), which represented 87.0% of total exports to Slovakia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Slovakia buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Slovakia decreased 17.4% and 28.8% respectively, and insured business also decreased by 9.6%. Major insured products were electronics, metallic products and electrical appliances, which represented 95.5% of HKECIC’s insured business on Slovakia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Slovakia has been satisfactory with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 April 2019      

Flag and map of Vanuatu

 
Key Information
Capital   Port Vila
Population   0.28 million
Area   12,190 sq km
Currency   Vatu (1 USD = 113.678 VUV as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Bislama, English, French
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 94 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Australia (7.8%)   Australia (19.6%)
New Caledonia (6.5%)   New Zealand (9.8%)
USA (4.9%)   China (6.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Vanuatu is a parliamentary republic with a non-executive presidency. The president is elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of members of parliament and heads of local government. Tallis Obed Moses was elected to succeed Baldwin Lonsdale as president in July 2017, following Lonsdale’s death. The national legislature is the single chamber parliament with 52 members, directly elected every four years by universal adult suffrage with an element of proportional representation. The last parliamentary election was held in January 2016 and Charlot Salwai was elected prime minister in February 2016. The next parliamentary and presidential elections are due by 2020 and 2022 respectively.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Vanuatu economy is based on agriculture, fishing, tourism and offshore financial services. It is a small island developing state and a low-income country. The country is the world's most at-risk country for natural disasters according to the UN World Risk Index. In 2015, Cyclone Pam smashed into the islands of Vanuatu, causing widespread devastation and leaving 75,000 people homeless. Real GDP growth rebounded to 3.5% in 2016 from 0.2% in 2015, driven by recovery in tourism and agriculture combined with scaling-up of infrastructure. The recovery further propelled economic growth in 2017, while growth slowed in 2018 as the reconstruction efforts are near completion.

Hong Kong – Vanuatu Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Vanuatu decreased by 15.6% from HK$47.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 40.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Vanuatu were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-30.5%), (2) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+1550.7%), and (3) special transactions and commodities not classified according to kind (+79.4%), which represented 77.1% of total exports to Vanuatu.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Vanuatu buyers. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Vanuatu.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 16 April 2019

           
Flag and map of Cook Islands

 
Key Information
Capital   Avarua
Population   9,038
Area   236 sq km
Currency   New Zealand Dollar (1 NZD = 0.6773 USD as of 15 April 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Self-governing parliamentary democracy

Source: Central Intelligence Agency

Political Highlights

 

Cook Islands are made up of 15 volcanic islands and coral atolls located about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Cook Islands had long been a British Protectorate and became a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand in 1965. The territory administers its own affairs but that Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens who are free to live and work in New Zealand. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, represented by the prime minister who is the head of government. Henry Puna has been the territory’s prime minister since 2010 after his Cook Islands Party won a comfortable majority in elections. The parliament is unicameral and consists of 25 members elected by popular vote.

 

Economic Trend

Cook Islands’ economic development faces constraints like many other South Pacific island nations, including lack of natural resources, limited size of domestic markets and inadequate infrastructure. Its economy is dominated by tourism which makes up about 60% of its GDP. Despite strong growth in tourism arrivals in recent years, the industry faces growing accommodation capacity constraints. Besides, around 80% of the visitors are from New Zealand and Australia, making Cook Islands vulnerable to economic cycles of these two countries.

The economy is also reliant on financial assistance from a number of countries such as New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan. In particular, New Zealand works with Cook Islands in upgrading the latter’s infrastructure, growing sustainable tourism, and supporting initiatives that strengthen the public sector and improve education, health and social services. In December 2018, Cook Islands received NZD 13 million grant contribution towards supporting asset management from New Zealand.

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Cook Islands buyers. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Cook Islands.


Last update: 15 April 2019

       
Flag and map of Serbia

 
Key Information
Capital   Belgrade
Population   7.0 million
Area   77,474 sq km
Currency   Serbian dinar (1 USD = 104.675 RSD as of 11 April 2019)
Official language   Serbian
Form of government   Democratic republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 48 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 65 out of 140 in 2018 (↑5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 65 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery, apparatus & transport articles (28.0%)   Machinery, apparatus & transport articles (25.2%)
Manufactured goods (23.6%)   Manufactured goods (18.6%)
Food (13.5%)   Chemical products (14.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Italy (13.2%)   Germany (12.9%)
Germany (12.5%)   Italy (10.2%)
Bosnia and Hercegovina (8.0%)   China (8.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Serbia is a multiparty democracy. The national legislature is a unicameral parliament, which is the National Assembly with 250 seats. The president is elected by popular suffrage to a five-year term. Prime minister, the head of the government, is appointed by the president with the consent of the parliament. In the snap parliamentary election in April 2016, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won a majority of 131 seats and formed a government in August 2016. The political environment has been unstable in recent months due to the ongoing anti-government protests since December 2018. However, according to the EIU, the government is expected to remain secure, as the opposition remains weak and divided. The next parliamentary election is due in April 2020, and presidential election in 2022. Yet, Aleksandar Vucic who became prime minister in 2014 and president in 2017, has floated the idea of early elections after months of opposition protests.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of Serbia continued to grow strongly with estimated growth of 4.4% in 2018, supported by the recovery of private consumption and robust foreign direct investments and exports. The government stepped up the implementation of structural reforms, broadening the focus to include social sector transformation. In December 2018, Standard and Poor’s affirmed Serbia’s long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at 'BB/B'. The rating outlook was changed from stable to positive. The ratings on Serbia are supported by its educated workforce, the favorable outlook for foreign direct investment, and the government's commitment to operating primary budgetary surpluses, while constrained by its relatively low wealth levels and still-high general government debt burden.

Hong Kong – Serbia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Serbia increased by 33.8% from HK$811 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,086 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Serbia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+36.5%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-1.9%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (-13.4%), which represented 78.4% of total exports to Serbia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Serbia buyers, with the exception of those under sanctions. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Serbia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 April 2019

           
Flag and map of Lebanon

 
Key Information
Capital   Beirut
Population   6.1 million
Area   10,452 sq km
Currency   Lebanese pound (Pegged to the USD at 1 USD = 1,507.5 LBP)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 142 out of 190 in 2019 (↓9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 80 out of 140 in 2018 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 70 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufacturing goods (40.5%)   Manufacturing goods (51.5%)
Agricultural products (16.9%)   Agricultural products (17.9%)
Fuels and mining products (6.3%)   Fuels and mining products (14.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
South Africa (21.1%)   European Union (40.4%)
European Union (11.2%)   China (11.2%)
Saudi Arabia (9.0%)   USA (6.3%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Lebanon is a parliamentary republic. Muslim and Christian are the two main religious groups of the country, taking up about 90% of the population. The Muslims are themselves divided between the Sunni Muslim and the Shia Muslim, with each of them taking up about one quarter of the population. The president is the head of state and must be a Maronite Christian, who is elected by the parliament for a six-year term. In 2016, the country’s parliament elected Michel Aoun as president, ending a political stand-off that has left the post empty for more than two years. The president appoints the prime minister in consultation with the parliament. The country adopts a unicameral National Assembly with 128 seats, which are equally divided between Muslims and Christians. The last parliamentary election took place in May 2018 and a new coalition government headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri was formed in January 2019.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


The Lebanese economy is primarily based on the services sector, including banking, tourism and financial services as well as reliant on financial support from the Gulf Arab countries. Over the past few years, the country showed decelerating economic growth amid the long-lasting civil war in neighboring Syria and conflicts on national politics. According to the World Bank, up to 1.5 million Syrians (about a quarter of the Lebanese population) have taken refuge in Lebanon since the conflict erupted in March 2011. The influx of refugees has put heavy pressure on the government’s public finances which were already weak. Remarkably, Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratios. Macroeconomic conditions remain challenging for the country in the medium term.

On 1 March 2019, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s revised the outlook on Lebanon to negative from stable, while affirmed its 'B-/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings. The negative outlook reflects the risk that a lack of material reforms to reduce the budget deficit will see investor confidence wane. The ratings on Lebanon also reflect its sizable fiscal and external deficits and very high and rising public debt levels.

.

 

Hong Kong – Lebanon Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Lebanon decreased by 0.2% from HK$424 million in 2017 to HK$423 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Lebanon were: (1) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-3.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+33.2%), and (3) footwear (-13.4%), which represented 51.5% of total exports to Lebanon.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Lebanese buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Lebanon.

Please clickhere to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 9 April 2019

       
Flag and map of Qatar

 
Key Information
Capital   Doha
Population   2.6 million
Area   11,521 sq km
Currency   Qatari riyal (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 3.64 QAR)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 83 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 30 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 30 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (83.0%)   Manufactured goods (78.6%)
Manufactured goods (7.6%)   Agricultural products (10.4%)
Agricultural products (0.2%)   Fuels and mining products (6.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Japan (17.1%)   USA (16.9%)
South Korea (15.8%)   China (11.4%)
India (12.3%)   Germany (6.9%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Qatar is a monarchy wherein the emir is both the country's head of state and head of government. The country has been ruled by the Al-Thani family since it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971. The Consultative Assembly is the legislative body made up of 45 members (30 elected members and 15 appointed members). Members of the assembly who are elected serve for four-year renewable terms while appointed members by the monarch serve for unlimited terms.

On the diplomatic front, Qatar has been locked in a diplomatic crisis since June 2017, as several countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties and closed their air routes as well as land and sea borders with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. Qatar has strengthened military ties with Turkey since then. The two countries signed a number of agreements on transportation, trade and economy in November 2018.  On 1 January 2019, Qatar left the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The country’s energy minister said the withdrawal decision reflected Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural-gas production.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Qatar is located in the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is an oil-based economy with the hydrocarbon sector accounting for nearly 85% of its export earnings and 50% of government revenues. It is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. However, proven oil reserves in the country could only afford production to continue at current level for around 50 years. In February 2019, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) launched new initiatives to push forward economic diversification, including promoting Qatar as a natural hub for innovative digital, media, sports, and financial services thus providing a solid basis for foreign direct investments in those growing fields. The QFC has also put in place an attractive incentives programme to attract multinational companies to Qatar by offering free offices, highly-competitive tax incentives, etc.

In December 2018, S&P affirmed Qatar’s long and short-term sovereign credit ratings at 'AA-/A-1+' with rating outlook changed from negative to stable, reflecting S&P’s review that Qatar will continue to effectively mitigate the economic and financial fallout of the boycott imposed on the country in June 2017 by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and that Qatar will continue to pursue prudent macroeconomic policies that support large recurrent fiscal and external surpluses over 2018-2021.
 

Hong Kong – Qatar Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Qatar increased by 74.1% from HK$1,417 million in 2017 to HK$2,467 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Qatar were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+108.5%), (2) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+70.9%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+10.4%), which represented 41.3% of total exports to Qatar.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Qatar. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 54.8% and increased by 32.9% respectively, while insured business increased by 29.9%. Major insured products were chemical products, metallic products and electrical appliances, which represented 73.2% of HKECIC’s insured business on Qatar. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Qatar has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 27 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Croatia

 
Key Information
Capital   Zagreb
Population   4.3 million
Area   56,594 sq km
Currency   Croatian Kuna (1 HRK = 0.1530 USD or 0.1348 EUR as of 20 March 2019)
Official language   Croatian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 58 out of 190 in 2019 (↓7) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 68 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 49 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machines & transport equipment (23.2%)   Machines & transport equipment (25.4%)
Manufactured material (16.1%)   Chemical products (13.8%)
Manufactured products (15.4%)   Mineral fuels & lubricants (13.3%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Italy (13.7%)   Germany (15.4%)
Serbia (12.4%)   Italy (12.9%)
Slovenia (10.8%)   Slovenia (10.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Croatia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. It is a parliamentary republic with president serves as the head of the state, elected for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The current president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, took office in February 2015. The legislature is a unicameral Hrvatski sabor (parliament) with 160 seats. The president nomintes the prime minister, who leads the the government. In June 2017, current prime minister, Andrej Plenkovic and his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) managed to avoid an early election after the collapse of the collation government with Most ("Bridge") party, by forming a new coalition government with Croatian People's Party (HNS). The next parliamentary election will be held in 2020, and presidential election in 2019-20.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Coratia is the eighth-smallest country in the European Union (EU) in terms of population but the country occupies a strategic position between Western Europe and Eastern Europe that provides it with several advantages. It is close to important markets such as Germany and Italy, and through its borders with Slovenia, Serbia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country’s economic strength is based on its export and tourism sectors, which takes up over 50% and 15% of total GDP in 2017 respectively. The country continued its fourth year of positive economic expansion in 2018, supported by strong private consumption, and exports of goods and services. The debt-to-GDP ratio started decreasing since 2015 thanks to the prudent government spending and borrowing. The narrowed budget deficit and current account surplus has allowed Croatia to exit the EU’s Excessive Deficit Procedure in June 2017.

In December 2018, Fitch affirmed Croatia's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB+', with a positive rating outlook. The rating reflects the country's strong structural features, including human development and governance indicators and high GDP per capita, with weak growth potential, high public sector debt and external vulnerabilities. 

Hong Kong – Croatia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Croatia increased by 31.4% from HK$ 417 million in 2017 to HK$ 548 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Croatia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+38.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+14.6%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-7.8%), which represented 83.0% of total exports to Croatia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Croatia buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Croatia has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case of small amount reported in the past 12 months (March 2018 to February 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 March 2019

          
Flag and map of Azerbaijan

 
Key Information
Capital   Baku
Population   9.7 million
Area   86,600 sq km
Currency   Azerbaijani Manat (1 AZN = 0.589445 USD as of 19 March 2019)
Official language   Azerbaijani
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 25 out of 190 in 2019 (↑32)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 69 out of 140 in 2018 (↓4)
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Petroleum products (88.6%)   Machinery & equipment (21.8%)
Food products & animals (4.7%)   Food products (16.8%)
Metals (1.8%)   Metals (12.4%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Italy (23.5%)   Russia (18.0%)
Turkey (12.2%)   Turkey (14.8%)
Israel (5.7%)   China (9.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Azerbaijan declared its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Its government is structured as a dominant-party unitary presidential system, with a high degree of power concentrated in the presidential administration. The incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, who took power in 2003, has dominated the country's politics and was re-elected for his fourth term in April 2018. The country adopts a unicameral legislature with 125 members in the National Assembly. Currently, the ruling party New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) holds an absolute majority in the National Assembly. The next legislative and presidential elections are due in November 2020 and October 2025 respectively.

Externally, Azerbaijan remains locked in an intractable conflict with Armenia regarding the territory of Nagorny Karabakh, which is a landlocked region physically located in southwest Azerbaijan, but is home to a majority ethnic Armenian population. Though a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, conflicts in the contested region remained frequent over the past two decades
.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Azerbaijan possesses vast natural resources including oil and gas. The hydrocarbon sector, including oil, gas and petroleum products, accounted for around 90% of the country’s total export revenues. Economic growth grew at a faster pace in 2018, as both oil and non-oil sectors expanded. Economic performance is projected to strengthen in the medium term, fueled by natural gas exports and a moderate acceleration in domestic demand. The current account balance remained in surplus in 2018, driven by higher export earnings from hydrocarbons.

In January 2019, Standard and Poor’s affirmed Azerbaijan's long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at 'BB+/B' with a stable outlook. The ratings are primarily supported by the country’s strong fiscal position, which is underpinned by the large stock of foreign assets accumulated in the sovereign wealth fund constrained by weak institutional effectiveness, the narrow and concentrated economic base, limited monetary policy flexibility
.

 

Hong Kong – Azerbaijan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Azerbaijan increased by 165.6% from HK$159 million in 2017 to HK$423 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Azerbaijan were: (1) telecommunications, and sound recording and reproducing apparatus equipment (+120.0%), (2) power generating machinery and equipment, and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+118.1%), which represented 85.7% of total exports to Azerbaijan.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Azerbaijani buyers. In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no insured business on Azerbaijan).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Turkmenistan

 
Key Information
Capital   Ashgabat
Population   5.8 million
Area   488,100 sq km
Currency   Turkmenistani Manat (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 3.5 TMT)
Official language   Turkmen
Form of government   Presidential republic
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 126 out of 160 in 2018

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Turkmenistan has a presidential system of government where the president assumes the roles of both the head of state and the head of government. Constitutional changes passed in 2016 extended presidential term limits from five to seven years, and removed the 70-year age limit for holders of presidential office. In February 2017, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled Turkmenistan since 2007, won the presidential election with 97.7% of the votes and was sworn in as president for his third consecutive term. Regarding foreign policy, Turkmenistan has an official policy of neutrality and avoids formal engagement in any military blocs.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Turkmenistan is located at the center of the Eurasian continent and has been classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank since 2012.  The hydrocarbon sector plays a vital role in its economy, with exports making up about one-fourths of the country’s GDP. The country’s gas reserves represent about 10% of global reserves. Russia was once a major market of its gas exports. The country has now turned to the Chinese market as exports to Russia have come to a halt due to pricing disputes. However, exports become heavily dependent on the China market. Agriculture employs nearly half of the country's workforce, but accounts for less than 10% of the GDP.

Economic growth has been stable at above 6% in recent years, supported by rising gas export volumes to China. The value of the country’s merchandise exports to China grew by 18.1% year on year in the first nine months of 2018, and accounted for 85.4% of its total exports. Against this backdrop, the economy is vulnerable to external shocks such as decline in global commodity prices.

 

Hong Kong – Turkmenistan Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Turkmenistan decreased by 24.5% from HK$28.0 million in 2017 to HK$21.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Turkmenistan were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-18.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-57.5%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+451.8%), which represented 95.2% of total exports to Turkmenistan..

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Turkmen buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no insured business on Turkmenistan.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 18 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Ethiopia

 
Key Information
Capital   Addis Ababa
Population   102.4 million
Area   1,221,900 sq km
Currency   Ethiopian birr (1 USD = 28.5307 ETB as of 14 March 2019)
Official language   Amharic
Form of government   Federal republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 159 out of 190 in 2019 (↑2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 122 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (40.5%)   Manufactured products (75.6%)
Fuels and mining products (34.6%)   Fuels and mining products (14.0%)
Manufactured products (13.3%)   Agricultural products (10.2%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Sudan (31.0%)   China (27.0%)
Switzerland (13.5%)   Saudi Arabia (11.3%)
China (10.8%)   India (7.1%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organisation

Political Highlights

 

Ethiopia is an authoritarian state ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has been in power since 1991 and currently holds 546 (out of 547) seats in parliament. The president, a largely ceremonial role, is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the president by the House of People's Representatives in October 2018, being the first woman to hold the office. Abiy Ahmed, the current prime minister since April 2018, came to power with a grand vision to liberalise Ethiopia, both economically and politically. Since his election, Abiy has created space for a more inclusive political dialogue and has taken steps to bring stability to the region. On the economic front, the new government has announced an ambitious reform program for the country aimed at opening the economy to private investment and competition to support sustainable growth.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, and the fastest growing economy in the region. However, it is also one of the poorest, with a very low per capita income. Over the past decade, the country has built on its strong track record of development. Despite economic growth slowed in 2018, the growth figure remained high and current account deficit continued to narrow. The country is embarking on its next phase of economic and social development, supported by reforms and powered by the private sector. In November 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ethiopia's long-term issuer default rating at 'B' with a stable outlook. The rating is supported by the country’s strong economic growth under the country's industrialisation strategy, while large macroeconomic imbalances weigh on the rating.

Hong Kong – Ethiopia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Ethiopia decreased by 24.7% from HK$1,664 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,253 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Ethiopia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-24.0%), (2) general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (+1,311.4%), and (3) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+299.1%), which represented 81.0% of total exports to Ethiopia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Ethiopia buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Ethiopia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 14 March 2019

          
Flag and map of Slovenia

 
Key Information
Capital   Ljubljana
Population   2.1 million
Area   20,273 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.12915 USD as of 13 March 2019)
Official language   Slovene
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 82 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 67 out of 140 in 2018 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 33 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (40.7%)   Machinery & transport equipment (36.4%)
Manufactured goods (30.5%)   Manufactured goods (28.5%)
Chemicals (14.7%)   Chemicals (13.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Germany (18.9%)   Germany (16.5%)
Italy (10.7%)   Italy (13.6%)
Austria (7.4%)   Austria (9.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Slovenia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. It is a parliamentary republic with president as head of the state elected by universal suffrage with a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The current president, Borut Pahor, sworn for his second term in office in November 2017. The legislature is a bicameral parliament consisting of the National Assembly (lower house) with 90 members and the National Council (upper house) with 40 members. In June 2018, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) of former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, the largest single party in the parliament with 25 seats, failed to find a coalition partner to form the government. Therefore, five center-left parties together holding 43 seats, nominated Marjan Sarec to become prime minister and form a government following the inconclusive general election in June 2018. According to EIU, given the diverging manifestoes of the coalition members, it is expected the government to be fractious and to struggle with implementing coherent policies. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Slovenia is the fifth-smallest country in the European Union (EU) in terms of population. Its economy was limited by its small sized market, and its economic strength is based on its export sector, which takes up over 80% of GDP. A broad-based recovery continued in 2018, lowering unemployment, swinging the headline fiscal balance into surplus, and reducing the public debt ratio.  The current account posted sizeable surpluses in recent years benefited from the export growth with major trading partners including Austria, Germany and Italy. Tourism is another important sector of the economy, which reported several consecutive record-breaking years. Economic growth reached its decade high in 2017 while moderated slightly in 2018 as foreign demand weakened. According to Internation Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s near-term growth prospects are positive, but the medium-term outlook is less favorable as the rapidly aging population will reduce potential growth. In 2019, growth is projected to slow to 3.4%, as export demand eases and capacity constraints becomes more severe.

In December 2018, S&P affirmed its sovereign credit ratings on Slovenia’s long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign at A+ and A-1 respectively. The outlook remains positive. The rating reflects the country's educated workforce, its eurozone membership, benefits from the European Central Bank's (ECB's) monetary policy, strong export-oriented manufacturing sector & etc. 

Hong Kong – Slovenia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Slovenia increased by 10.1% from HK$ 714 million in 2017 to HK$ 786 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Slovenia were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+17.8%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+22.6%), and (3) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+37.4%), which represented 69.1% of total exports to Slovenia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Slovenia buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 31.3% and 173.7% respectively, while insured business decreased by 6.0%. Major insured products were chemical products, electronics and electrical appliances, which represented 96.7% of HKECIC’s insured business on Slovenia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Slovenia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported in the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 13 March 2019

          
Flag and map of Sri Lanka

 
Key Information
Capital   Colombo (commercial capital); Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Population   20.9 million
Area   65,610 sq km
Currency   Sri Lanka rupee (1 USD = 178.742 LKR as of 12 March 2019)
Official language   Sinhala, Tamil
Form of government   Republic with executive president
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 100 out of 190 in 2019 (↑11)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 85 out of 140 in 2018 (↓4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 94 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Textiles & garments (44.3%)   Textiles and clothing (13.0%)
Tea (13.5%)   Machinery & transport equipment (12.5%)
Rubber products (7.4%)   Refined petroleum (11.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
USA (26.1%)   India (21.7%)
UK (9.3%)   China (19.0%)
India (6.2%)   UAE (7.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Sri Lanka is a republic with an executive presidency. The president is the head of state and head of government with executive powers, elected for a five-year term by universal suffrage. The legislature is a unicameral parliament with 225 members, directly elected for five years. In 2015, Maithripala Sirisena became the president and led a government comprising the two main parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), until October 2018 when the coalition broke up owing to ideological differences and political in-fighting. Due to difference over economic policy, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sacked by the president in October 2018 with the appointment of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister, which Wickremesinghe has claimed unconstitutional. The constitutional crisis was ended with the president re-appointing Wickremesinghe as prime minister in December 2018. It is widely expected that the remainder of the government’s term would be marked by ongoing risks to political stability The next presidential election is scheduled for late 2019 and parliamentary election in 2020.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Following 30 years of civil war that ended in 2009, Sri Lanka registered robust economic growth, largely driven by reconstruction projects and expansion in the tourism sector. At the same time, the economy is transitioning from a predominantly rural-based economy towards a more urbanized economy oriented around manufacturing and services.

However, the political crisis last year has led to the slowest economic expansion in 17 years. According to the central bank in February 2019, economic growth for 2018 was estimated to have slowed to 3.0% due to the damage to the economy from a conflict between the president and prime minister. During the political crisis last year, three international credit rating agencies downgraded the country's debt, making it more expensive to borrow abroad
.

 

Hong Kong – Sri Lanka Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka increased by 0.2% from HK$4,062 million in 2017 to HK$4,074 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Sri Lanka were: (1) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (-2.5%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.4%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-14.2%), which represented 66.1% of total exports to Sri Lanka.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Sri Lanka buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 51.6% and decreased 49.1% respectively, while insured business increased by 23.5%. Major insured products were clothing, textiles and papers, which represented 85.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on Sri Lanka. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Sri Lanka has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (March 2018 to February 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 12 March 2019

       
Flag and map of Fiji

 
Key Information
Capital   Suva
Population   0.88 million
Area   18,333 sq km
Currency   Fiji dollar (1 USD = 2.13 FJD as of 11 February 2019)
Official language   English, Fijian and Hindi
Form of government   Parliamentary Democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 101 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 133 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Agricultural products (47.1%)   Manufactured products (64.0%)
Manufactured products (26.3%)   Agricultural products (19.3%)
Fuels and mining products (19.4%)   Fuels and mining products (15.9%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (18.6%)   Singapore (19.2%)
Australia (14.8%)   New Zealand (17.3%)
New Zealand (6.6%)   Australia (16.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Fiji became independent in 1970 and is a member country of The Commonwealth. The president is the head of state appointed for a three-year term by parliament. The incumbent president Jioji Konousi Konrote took office in November 2015 and was reappointed in 2018 for another three-year term. The legislature is a single-chamber parliament with 51 members directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a four-year term. The prime minister is the head of government. Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama became the first democratically elected prime minister in the 2014 general election and was re-elected in 2018. The Fiji First Party (FFP), led by Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, retained its parliamentary majority in the general election held in November 2018. The next general election is due in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of Fiji is heavily dependent on tourism, remittances, and the sugar sector. The country is remotely located and prone to natural disasters, and trade is hindered by high transportation costs. The country has been recovering well after Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016 and was estimated to grow at about 3.2% in 2018, its ninth consecutive year of expansion. While the country remains vulnerable to shifts in tourism preferences and natural disasters, growth momentum is projected to continue in the coming years. In August 2018, Standard and Poor’s affirmed its 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings with a stable outlook on Fiji, citing the country’s falling interest costs, sound external performance, and medium-term economic growth prospects support the ratings.

Hong Kong – Fiji Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Fiji increased by 32.0% from HK$150 million in 2017 to HK$198 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Fiji were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+93.5%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+24.3%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-2.9%), which represented 65.7% of total exports to Fiji.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Fiji buyers. In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no claim payment or payment difficult case reported against Fiji buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 11 March 2019

           
Flag and map of Albania

 
Key Information
Capital   Tirana
Population   3.1 million
Area   28,748 sq km
Currency   Albanian Lek (1 ALL = 0.0091 USD as of 27 February 2019)
Official language   Albanian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 63 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 76 out of 140 in 2018 (↑4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 88 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (66.3%)   Manufactured products (58.3%)
Fuels and mining products (20.0%)   Agricultural products (15.1%)
Agricultural products (10.7%)   Fuels and mining products (8.5%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
European Union (78.5%)   European Union (55.9%)
Serbia (7.8%)   Turkey (7.4%)
China (3.1%)   China (7.2%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Albania transited from communism to democracy during 1990s. It is a parliament republic with president as the head of the state and prime minister as the head of government. Ilir Meta was elected as president by the parliament in April 2017 and Edi Rama serves as the prime minister. Under Rama’s ruling, the country made progress in stabilizing public debts while crediting more business-friendly environment. In the parliamentary elections held in June 2017, the ruling Socialist Party of Albania (SPA) secured 74 of the 140 seats without the need for its former coalition partner, the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI). Rama’s strong electoral win in 2017 gave him the first clear parliamentary majority that Albania has seen since 2001. However, political stability came under strain following massive student protest during 2018 against government policies. In response to the protests, Rama reshuffled half of his cabinet in December 2018. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are due in 2020.

Albania has been an official candidate to join European Union (EU) since 2014. In 2018, the EU decided that membership talks with Albania may open if the country continue with the progress of reform. In March 2019, the leaders of Albania believed that the EU would decide in June 2019 to open membership talks with them.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Albania’s economy is dominated by agriculture, which employs more than half of the workforce and accounted for one fifth of the country’s GDP. Income from tourism sector is also a notable source of the nation. Although it remains one of the least developed countries in Europe with GDP per capita below the EU average, inward foreign direct investment has increased in recent years as the government embarked on reforms to improve the business climate. The economy grew 4% in 2018 benefitting from rising domestic demand, growing tourism, and a recovery in key EU trading partners. Furthermore, the government approved an agricultural financing scheme worth 20 million euros for 2018 to turn agriculture into the country's main engine of growth. Future growth is projected to be driven by higher private consumption and major infrastructure projects including Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Hydro Power Plants in Devolli River & etc.

In September 2018, Moody's said Albania’s B1 credit rating and a stable outlook for the country was backed by a solid economic growth, improved institutional quality and increased prospects for the start of EU membership negotiations.

Hong Kong – Alania Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Albania increased by 75% from HK$56 million in 2017 to HK$98 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Albania were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+160.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+19.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+304.2%), which represented 83.1% of total exports to Albania.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Albania buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from March 2018 to February 2019), there was no insured business on Albania.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 March 2019

           
Flag and map of Czechia

 
Key Information
Capital   Prague
Population   10.6 million
Area   78,866 sq km
Currency   Czech koruna (1 CZK = 0.04437 USD as of 28 February 2019)
Official language   Czech
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 35 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 29 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 22 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (57.0%)   Machinery & transport equipment (46.2%)
Intermediate manufactured goods (14.9%)   Intermediate manufactured goods (16.8%)
Chemicals (6.1%)   Chemicals (11.0%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (32.6%)   Germany (29.8%)
Slovakia (7.6%)   Slovakia (5.8%)
Poland (6.0%)   Poland (9.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Czechia is a member of the European Union (EU). The country is a parliamentary republic and the president, directly elected by universal suffrage on a five-year term, is the head of state and chief commander of the armed forces. The president appoints the prime minister, who subsequently appoints members of the cabinet and devising domestic and foreign policies. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting of a 81-seat Senate (upper house) and a 200-seat Chamber of Deputies (lower house).

In the parliamentary elections held in October 2017, centrist ANO movement, an anti-establishment party won the largest share of the vote and 78 of the 200 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, ending a long time of political dominance by mainstream parties. After more than eight months of negotiations, ANO formed a minority coalition government with the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) in July 2018.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Czechia has a highly-open economy with exports accounting for roughly 80% of GDP. Emerging as an important gateway to the EU market, it plays an important role in the Germany-Central European supply chain. Meanwhile, the industry and external sectors are important driving factors of economic growth. As an export-oriented country, Czechia would benefit from closer economic integration with the EU and continue to serve as a manufacturing base for the EU.

In January 2019, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) affirmed its 'AA-‘ foreign currency long-term sovereign credit ratings on the country with a stable outlook, reflecting S&P’s view that economic growth will remain strong over the next two to three years primarily supported by solid domestic demand, albeit at a slightly lower rate than previously. The fiscal and external accounts are anticipated to loosen slightly but still remain healthy.
 

Hong Kong – Czechia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Czechia increased by 85.3% from HK$7.30 billion in 2017 to HK$13.53 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Czechia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+120.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+64.8%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+66.5%), which represented 88.3% of total exports to Czechia

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Czechia. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 7.8% and 8.6% respectively, while insured business increased by 49.0%. Major insured products were toys, electronics and clothing, which represented 80.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Czechia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Czechia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 February 2019

       
Flag and map of Bosnia and Herzegovina

 
Key Information
Capital   Sarajevo
Population   3.8 million
Area   51,197 sq km
Currency   Bosnia-Herzegovina Convertible Mark (pegged with euro at 1 EUR = 1.95583 BAM)
Official language   Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 89 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 91 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 72 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Base metals (19.5%)   Mineral products (15.6%)
Machinery & mechanical products (12.7%)   Machinery (14.6%)
Mineral products (10.3%)   Base Metals (11.3%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
EU (71.0%)   EU (61.0%)
Serbia (9.8%)   Serbia (11.2%)
Turkey (3.7%)   China (6.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization 

Political Highlights

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a parliamentary republic. The country has three main ethnic groups, which are Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The country’s characteristic by its complicated political structure. It is comprised of two largely autonomous entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina (the Federation), and Republika Srpska (RS) as well as a self-governing district, Brcko, under the direct authority of the central state government. The presidency is a three-member body representing Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, serving as the head of state. In October 2018, Sefik Dzaferovic (representing Bosniaks) and Zeljko Komsi (representing Croats) were elected as members of presidency from a joint constituency in the Federation, while Milorad Dodik (representing Serb) was elected from voters in RS. Milorad Dodik was designated as Chairperson and the position will rotates twice around the three members every eight months. The country adopts a bicameral legislature consisting the House of Representatives and House of Peoples. About two-thirds of members were elected from the Federation and about one third from the RS. The next general elections are scheduled to be held in 2022.

The country formally requested to join the European Union (EU) in February 2016 but due to a highly decentralized government and lack of consensus among politicians concerning the adoption of reforms required by the EU, as well as inter-ethnic divergences, the process of EU integration remain slow.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of BiH relies heavily on private consumption as it accounted for about 76% of GDP in 2017. Although BiH has maintained moderate economic growth of about 3% in recent years, the unemployment rate remains high at over 30%. The complex government structure and underdeveloped institutions have created significant obstacles to foreign direct investment, and have also hampered economic policy coordination and reform. According to IMF, about a fifth of the BiH economy is loss-making state-owned companies. IMF advised those companies should be restructured or be privatized to become sustainable. In 2016, BiH signed a 553 million euro loan deal with the IMF but it was frozen in 2018 over a lack of economic reforms.

Hong Kong – Bosnia and Herzegovina Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

The economy of BiH relies heavily on private consumption as it accounted for about 76% of GDP in 2017. Although BiH has maintained moderate economic growth of about 3% in recent years, the unemployment rate remains high at over 30%. The complex government structure and underdeveloped institutions have created significant obstacles to foreign direct investment, and have also hampered economic policy coordination and reform. According to IMF, about a fifth of the BiH economy is loss-making state-owned companies. IMF advised those companies should be restructured or be privatized to become sustainable. In 2016, BiH signed a 553 million euro loan deal with the IMF but it was frozen in 2018 over a lack of economic reformsTotal exports from Hong Kong to Bosnia and Herzegovina decreased by 13.7% from HK$132 million in 2017 to HK$114 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Bosnia and Herzegovina were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-14.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+5.9%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-23.5%), which represented 91.9% of total exports to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Bosnia and Herzegovina buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC) with exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2018), there was no insured business on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 25 February 2019

           
Flag and map of Georgia

 
Key Information
Capital   Tbilisi
Population   4.9 million
Area   69,700 sq km
Currency   Georgian Lari (1 GEL = 0.376652 USD as of 22 February 2019)
Official language   Georgian
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 6 out of 190 in 2019 (↑3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 66 out of 140 in 2018 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 119 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured goods (40.8%)   Manufactured goods (65.3%)
Agricultural products (33.6%)   Fuels and mining products (18.6%)
Fuels and mining products (20.8%)   Agricultural products (14.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
European Union (23.7%)   European Union (27.5%)
Russia (14.5%)   Turkey (17.2%)
Azerbaijan (10.0%)   Russia (9.9%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organizatio

Political Highlights

 

Georgia is located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and is crisscrossed by strategically important oil and gas pipelines. Ethnic Georgians form over 80% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Azeris, Armenians and Russians. The country is a semi-presidential republic where the president, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, is the head of state, while the prime minister, who is appointed by the president, is the head of the government. Mamuka Bakhtadze, previously served as minister of finance, took over as prime minister to head the new government in June 2018. Georgia adopts a unicameral legislature with 150 members in the Parliament. In the 2016 parliamentary election, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GD-DG), which led the previous ruling coalition, secured a three-quarters majority. GD-DG’s preferred candidate, Salome Zurabishvili, was elected as president in November 2018. .
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Georgia's main economic activities include agriculture, mining, tourism as well as production of beverages, machinery, and chemicals. It has also sizeable hydropower capacity that provides most of its energy needs. The country has a sizable exposure to Turkey through trade, tourism, and FDI inflows. Preliminary official statistics reveal that Georgia’s real GDP grew 4.8% year-on-year in 2018, which is behind the World Bank’s and IMF’s latest growth projections of 5%-5.5%. The economy grew by 5.4% in the first half of 2018, while growth has slowed to 4.3% in the second half. The slowdown was driven by a marked weakness of activity in Turkey and the depreciation of the lira.

Georgia is vulnerable to trade shocks, mainly related to regional developments, global trade tensions and weaker global growth, according to the IMF. Meanwhile, Georgia is supported by a three-year extended credit facility from the IMF in 2017, which is aimed to support the authorities’ economic reform program. In December 2018, the IMF approved the release of a US$ 41.6 million loan tranche to Georgia, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to US$166.3 million.

In February 2019, Fitch Ratings has upgraded Georgia's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating to 'BB' from 'BB-' with a stable rating outlook, while citing the country’s external finances remain a key rating weakness with net external debt at 61.9% of GDP at end-2018.

.

 

Hong Kong – Georgia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Georgia increased by 39.4% from HK$292 million in 2017 to HK$407 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Georgia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-4.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+314.4%), and (3) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+140.0%), which represented 79.4% of total exports to Georgia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Georgian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), there was no insured business on Georgia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 22 February 2019

       
Flag and map of South Africa

 
Key Information
Capital   Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative) and Bloemfontein (judicial)
Population   55.4 million
Area   1,219,090 sq km
Currency   South African Rand (1 ZAR = 0.0707 USD as of 19 February 2019)
Official language   11 languages including is Zulu and English
Form of government   Constitutional democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 82 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 67 out of 140 in 2018 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 33 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Mineral products (20.2%)   Machinery (24.4%)
Precious metals (16.3%)   Mineral products (13.9%)
Vehicles, aircraft and vessels (13.2%)   Vehicles, aircraft and vessels (9.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
China (9.6%)   China (19.4%)
USA (7.5%)   Germany (12.2%)
Germany (7.1%)   USA (7.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Republic of South Africa (South Africa) is a constitutional democracy wherein the presdent is the head of the state elected by the parliament for a five year term. Former president, Jacob Zuma resigned in February 2018 on eve of no-confidence vote under multiple charges of corruption and nine years of economic decline under his  power. Cyril Ramaphosa, formerly the Deputy President, was elected by the paliament for the reminder of Zuma’s term. The African National Congress (ANC) has been the dominant political party since 1994 but its support ebbed from a peak of nearly 70% in 2004 to about 54% in the municipal election held in August 2016. The ANC’s performance was undermined primarily by the high unemployment and slow service delivery in rural areas and townships that are characterised by high levels of poverty and rampant income inequality. The country adopts a bicameral legislature, consisting of the 400-seat National Assembly and the 90-seat National Council of Provinces. The next national election is scheduled to take place in May 2019.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


According to President Ramaphosa, after a decade of economic stagnation and political paralysis, around a third of working-age population are unemployed and the economy recorded its slowest growth in 2016. The new government stepped up its efforts to improve governance and placed the task of inclusive growth and job creation at the centre of the national agenda. The government aims to create meaningful scale of job opportunities via investments in the productive sectors of the economy, in infrastructure and in skills development. Economic acticity is expected to benefit from policy reforms which encourage private-sector investment and confidence. According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), direct foreign investment into South Africa increased by more than 440% from US$1.3 billion in 2017 to US$7.1 billion in 2018. Although the economy was affected by drought in Q2 2018, real GDP is projected to stage a mild recovery in 2019 onwards benefit from policy reforms.

In November 2018, S&P affirmed the country’s long term foreign and local currency ratings at ‘BB’ and ‘BB+” respectively. The rating outlook was stable, reflecting S&P’s view that the South African government will pursue a range of economic, social, and fiscal reforms, albeit over an extended period of time.Currently, Moody’s is the only major credit rating agency that still rates South Africa’s debt at investment grade (Baa3 with stable outlook) after S&P and Fitch downgraded the country in 2017 following political changes that sapped confidence and knocked financial markets,

Hong Kong – South Africa Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to South Africa increased by 18.9% from HK$ 9.0 billion in 2017 to HK$ 10.6 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to South Africa were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+34.8%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-8.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts (-1.6%), which represented 86.1% of total exports to South Africa.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering South African buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on South Africa decreased by 9.7% and 43.2% respectively, and insured business decreased by 4.5%. Major insured products were metallic products, clothing and chemical products, which represented 69.8% of HKECIC’s insured business on South Africa. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on South Africa has been satisfactory, with two payment difficulty cases and one claim case reported in the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), involving textiles products.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 February 2019

          
Flag and map of United Arab Emirates

 
Key Information
Capital   Abu Dhabi
Population   9.7 million
Area   83,600 sq km
Currency   UAE dirham (pegged with USD at 1 USD = 3.6725 AED)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Federation of seven emirates
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 11 out of 190 in 2019 (↑21)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 27 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 11 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Re-exports (48.2%)   Machinery & electrical equipment (28.7%)
Crude oil (10.2%)   Precious stones & precious metals (20.3%)
Refined products (6.3%)   Vehicles & other transport equipment (11.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
India (10.4%)   China (18.7%)
Japan (9.3%)   USA (9.0%)
Iran (9.0%)   India (7.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain and Fujairah. Each emirate has its own local government, while the Federal Supreme Council (FSC) formed by the rulers of the emirates is the highest constitutional authority and the top policy-making entity in the federation. The FSC elects the President as head of state among its members. On the death of his father in Nov 2004, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the ruler of Abu Dhabi and was elected as President of the UAE. The prime minister is the head of the Council of Ministers (cabinet) appointed by the FSC. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, currently serves as Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE. The national legislature is a unicameral Federal National Council comprised of 20 appointed and 20 elected members representing the separate emirates. The overall political environment of the country is broadly stable given its prosperity and generous social welfare benefits.

The UAE is located at a strategic position bordering the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz, and less than 100 miles from Iran. The hostility between the country and Iran has created regional tensions and damaged trade. In the face of regional insecurity, the UAE has adopted an increasingly active foreign policy. In June 2017, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. The country also maintains strong bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and the US.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Although 30% of the UAE’s GDP is directly based on oil and gas output, the economy is relatively diversified than other neighboring Gulf states. The country has a free trade zone, which offer 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes, and a generally liberal trade regime helps attracting foreign investment. The UAE serves as a regional hub for trade, finance, transport and tourism. The economy contracted in 2017 mainly due to the lower oil prices and lower oil output on the back of the OPEC agreement to cut production. Meanwhile, the country has ample financial reserves derived from its current account surpluses, which helps supporting the country’s economic and fiscal resilience. Furthermore, the government announced plans for a fiscal stimulus for three years, augmenting the planned increase in investment ahead of the Expo 2020 in Dubai should drive further growth to the economy.

In May 2018, Moody’s said in an annual update that the UAE’s Aa2 credit profile and stable outlook reflects its financial support from Abu Dhabi, large hydrocarbon reserves and very high wealth levels. Also, the very high fiscal strength reflects the country's record of large fiscal surpluses and build-up of very large financial assets in Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund. In March 2019, Moody’s announced its completion of periodic review on UAE.

Hong Kong – UAE Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to UAE decreased by 7.7% from HK$51,370 million in 2017 to HK$47,423 million in 2018. The top three export categories to UAE were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.6%), (2) non-metallic mineral manufactures (-43.6%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+11.9%), which represented 74.6% of total exports to UAE.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering UAE buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications decreased by 35.1% and 35.8% respectively, and insured business decreased by 34.1%. Major insured products were clothing, metallic products and chemical products, which represented 53.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on UAE. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on UAE has been acceptable, with three payment difficulty cases and three claim cases reported in the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), involving metallic products, travel goods and watches & clocks.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 February 2019

           
Flag and map of Kuwait

 
Key Information
Capital   Kuwait City
Population   4.5 million
Area   17,818 sq km
Currency   Kuwaiti dinar (pegged to a basket of currencies, 1 KWD = 3.3183 USD as of 13 February 2019)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Constitutional emirate (monarchy)
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 97 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 54 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 63 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Oil & oil products (88.9%)   Intermediate goods (40.0%)
Non-oil (11.1%)   Consumer goods (40.0%)
    Capital goods (20.0%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
South Korea (16.0%)   China (16.4%)
China (15.2%)   USA (10.2%)
India (10.5%)   UAE (8.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy. The Emir of Kuwait is the monarch and head of state of Kuwait, which is under the hereditary rule of the Al-Sabah family. The emir, Sheikh Sabah al‑Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, appoints the prime minister and the government, in which the ruling royal family usually holds key ministries. The national legislature is a unicameral National Assembly made up of 50 directly elected members and 15 unelected cabinet ministers. The next legislative election will be due in 2020.

The rivalry between its neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Iran, ongoing boycott of Qatar by the quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, and the presence of jihadi groups remain the key concerns over regional stability. The country is increasing focus on keeping the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) unity intact and developing a closer security ties with its neighbors.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate * Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Kuwait is one of the richest Arab countries. It is the world’s ninth-largest crude oil producer and its oil reserves are the world’s seventh largest. The oil and gas sector remains the backbone of the economy with hydrocarbon products accounting for around 55% of the total GDP and over 90% of total exports. The GDP contracted in 2017 due to lower oil output on the back of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement to cut production. Nevertheless, the country maintains a sovereign wealth fund with sizeable foreign assets derived from its current account surpluses, which provides policy space to increase public investment to support growth.

In January 2019, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) affirmed Kuwait’s long-term issuer debt rating at ‘AA’ with a stable outlook. The stable outlook reflected S&P’s expectation that Kuwait’s public and external balance sheets will remain strong over the next two years, supported by its sovereign wealth fund. This should partially mitigate the risks related to the country’s undiversified oil-dependent economy, and rising geopolitical tensions in the region.

Hong Kong – Kuwait Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Kuwait decreased by 5.4% from HK$1,221 million in 2017 to HK$1,155 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Kuwait were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+3.2%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-8.2%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+15.7%), which represented 71.7% of total exports to Kuwait.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Kuwait buyers. Currently, the insured buyers in Kuwait are mainly small and medium sized companies. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Kuwait increased 25% and decreased 1.1% respectively, while insured business increased by 94.1%. Major insured products were furniture, jewellery, and electrical appliances, which represented 42.2% of HKECIC’s insured business on Kuwait. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Kuwait has been satisfactory, with one claim case reported during the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), involving furniture.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 13 February 2019

          
Flag and map of Armenia

 
Key Information
Capital   Yerevan
Population   3 million
Area   29,800 sq km
Currency   Armenian Dram (1 AMD = 0.0021 USD as of 31 January 2019)
Official language   Armenian
Form of government   Parliamentary democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 41 out of 190 in 2019 (↑6)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 70 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 92 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (35.2%)   Manufactured products (57.9%)
Manufactured products (29.2%)   Fuels and mining products (19.7%)
Agricultural products (23.4%)   Agricultural products (15.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
EU (27.2%)   Russia (28.7%)
Russia (26.5%)   EU (22.0%)
Switzerland (11.8%)   China (11.7%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Armenia was independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. The president is the head of the state elected by parliament for a seven-year term. Incumbent President Armen Sarkissian was elected in March 2018, the first president elected by parliament instead of a popular vote following the 2015 referendum to change the system of government from a presidential to parliamentary. The prime minister is the head of government nominated by a parliamentary majority. Nikol Pashinian was appointed as prime minister in May 2018, and his My Step Alliance (comprising Civil Contract and Mission Party) secured a comfortable 88-seat majority in the 132-seat parliament.

The Nagorno Karabakh territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan began in 1988, when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan and caused a state of ongoing instability. Though an internationally mediated peace process was established, a permanent settlement to the conflict remains elusive.

 

Economic Trend

^ Estimate * Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Armenia has rich deposits of mineral resources including iron and copper, contributing about one third of the country’s exports. The economy relies heavily on mining, agriculture, remittances from overseas workers (mainly from Russia). The country has only two open trade borders (Iran and Georgia) as its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed as a result of the ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan. The geographic isolation has led to narrow export base for the country and made it dependent on remittances from overseas. The country encountered a slower growth between 2014 and 2016 but has been recovering in the last two years driven by the mining and manufacturing sectors, constructions and higher remittance inflows.

In November 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Armenia's long-term issuer default ratings at 'B+' with a positive outlook, citing the country’s ratings balance a credible monetary policy framework and stronger income per capita and governance indicators relative to peers against high public and external debt and tense relations with some neighboring countries.  

Hong Kong – Armenia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Armenia increased by 49.2% from HK$148 million in 2017 to HK$220 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Armenia were: (1) non-metallic mineral manufactures (+92.1%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+52.4%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods, watches and clocks (+13.0%), which represented 79.6% of total exports to Armenia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Armenian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), there was no insured business on Armenia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 February 2019

          
Flag and map of Hungary

 
Key Information
Capital   Budapest
Population   9.8 million
Area   93,028 sq km
Currency   Hungarian Forint (1 HUF = 0.0036 USD or 0.0032 EUR as of 1 February 2019)
Official language   Hungarian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 53 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 48 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 31 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & equipment (55.9%)   Machinery & equipment (48.4%)
Manufactured goods (32.2%)   Chemicals (36.4%)
Food, beverage & tobacco (7.2%)   Fuels & energy (7.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (27.8%)   Germany (26.9%)
Romania (5.4%)   Austria (6.5%)
Italy (5.1%)   China (6.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Hungary is a parliamentary republic. The president is the head of the state and the prime minister is the head of government. Current President Janos Ader was re-elected by the parliament to another five-year term in March 2017. A centre-right majority government, led by the prime minister Viktor Orban and comprising the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz) and its coalition partner Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), together secured 133 of the 199 seats in the 2018 parliamentary election. The government’s economic agenda continues to focus on securing buoyant growth, while reducing vulnerabilities, especially external debt. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are due in 2020.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate * Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Hungary is a highly export-oriented country, given its attractive location near the German and Austrian markets. It is a hub for many manufacturing bases, back-offices and other support services of the European supply chains. Economic growth in the recent years has been strong supported by buoyant domestic demand and investments from the EU countries. The country’s external debt has also declined due to the substantial external current account surpluses and an active public debt management. In November 2018, Moody's affirmed Hungary's long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings at Baa3 with a stable outlook. The stable outlook reflects Moody's view that risks to Hungary's credit profile are balanced.

Hong Kong – Hungary Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Hungary increased by 10.2% from HK$13.8 billion in 2017 to HK$15.3 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Hungary were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-17.4%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+10.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+95.5%), which represented 87.6% of total exports to Hungary.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Hungary buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications increased by 11.8% and 302.6% respectively, and insured business increased by 5.5%. Major insured products were electronics, electrical appliances, and watches & clocks, which represented 92.2% of HKECIC’s insured business on Hungary. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Hungary has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 February 2019

          
Flag and map of Dominican Republic

 
Key Information
Capital   Santo Domingo
Population   10.3 million
Area   48,670 sq km
Currency   Dominican pesos (1 USD = 50.44 DOP as of 31 January 2019)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Representative Democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 102 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 82 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 87 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (49.2%)   Manufactured products (68.7%)
Agricultural products (21.2%)   Agricultural products (16.4%)
Fuels and mining products (5.5%)   Fuels and mining products (14.9%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (50.0%)   USA (44.2%)
Haiti (9.0%)   China (13.1%)
Canada (8.4%)   Mexico (4.6%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy. The president is the head of state and government directly elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. The bicameral legislature is composed of a 32-member Senate and a 190-members Chamber of Deputies, whose members of both houses are directly elected for a four-year terms and may be reelected. Presidential, legislative and municipal elections were last held in 2016. Incumbent President Danilo Medina won the re-election in 2016 with a large majority of the votes, and his Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) party won most legislative seats. The next presidential, congressional and municipal elections will be held in May 2020.

The country’s relations with the US had in the past anchored by strong trade and investment ties and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free-Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). However, US President Donald Trump has in recent months threatened to eliminate Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador from keeping preferential access to US markets without disturbing the rest of the agreement. In 2018, the Trump administration pulled its ambassadors out of Dominican Republic after the latter broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Dominican Republic has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years and a significant reduction in poverty, although the country remains vulnerable to natural disasters. The IMF estimated the country’s 2018 growth to reach 6.4% driven by healthy growth in exports, remittances and tourism revenue. This is largely thanks to strong dynamics in the US economy, the Dominican Republic’s key trading partner. However, growth for 2019 is forecast to soften on easing momentum in the US, tighter global financial conditions and vulnerability to severe weather conditions.

Hong Kong – Dominican Republic Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Dominican Republic increased by 8.4% from HK$801 million in 2017 to HK$869 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Dominican Republic were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+18.9%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-3.8%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+14.1%), which represented 76.1% of total exports to Dominican Republic.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Dominican Republic buyers. In the past 12 months (from February 2018 to January 2019), there was no claim payment or payment difficult case reported against Dominican Republic buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 February 2019

          
Flag and map of  Saudi Arabia

 
Key Information
Capital   Riyadh
Population   33.7 million
Area   2,149,690 sq km
Currency   Saudi Riyal (pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 3.75 SAR)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 92 out of 190 in 2019 ( - )
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 30 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 55 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (75.0%)   Manufactured goods (77.4%)
Manufactured goods (20.4%)   Agricultural products (16.2%)
Agricultural products (2.2%)   Fuels and mining products (3.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Japan (12.2%)   China (15.4%)
China (11.7%)   USA (13.6%)
South Korea (9.0%)   UAE (6.5%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization, Central Intelligence Agency

Political Highlights

 

Saudi Arabia is the most populous and largest country by land area in the Arabian Peninsula. It is a monarchy where the King is both the head of state and government and has absolute executive power. The constitution of Saudi Arabia is the Holy Quran and Prophet's tradition. There is no elected legislature and the Consultative Assembly is made up of 150 members appointed by the King. It is the official government advisory body and proposes laws to the King. As a leading oil producer in the world and the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia has strong influential power in the Middle East and the Arab world. Islam is the sole official religion, with Sunnis making up 90% of the population.

The Al-Saud family has been ruling the country since the Kingdom’s foundation in 1932. King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud acceded to the throne in 2015 on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz al-Saud. To pave the way for a smooth transfer of power to the next generation, his son Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud was nominated as crown prince in 2017
.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Saudi Arabia is an oil-based economy and a dominant member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). According to the OPEC, Saudi Arabia possesses around 18% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the world’s largest exporter of petroleum. The oil and gas sector accounts for roughly 50% of its GDP and 75% of its export earnings. However, its dominance in the oil sector has also made the economy vulnerable to oil price volatility. In January 2019, the International Monetary Fund slashed its forecast for Saudi Arabia’s economic growth in 2019 to 1.8%, 0.6 percentage points lower than its October’s projection, due to lower oil prices and lower oil production growth.


In 2016, the authorities launched the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, aimed at diversifying its economy from oil and gas through expanding their investments into additional sectors, including manufacturing, tourism and leisure, technology as well as mining. The initiative also aimed at speeding up the privatization of government entities. Separately, the government introduced a 5% value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services in January 2018.

 

Hong Kong – Saudi Arabia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia decreased by 1.8% from HK$8,014 million in 2017 to HK$7,870 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Saudi Arabia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-2.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-6.6%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-30.0%), which represented 77.1% of total exports to Saudi Arabia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Saudi Arabian buyers. For 2018, the number and the amount of credit limit applications on Saudi Arabia decreased by 18.6% and increased by 37.2% respectively, while insured business increased by 25.2%. Major insured products were toys, metallic products and electronics which represented 40.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Saudi Arabia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Saudi Arabia has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (January 2018 to December 2018).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 31 January 2019

       
Flag and map of Suriname

 
Key Information
Capital   Paramaribo
Population   0.57 million
Area   163,820 sq km
Currency   Suriname dollar (1 USD = 7.456 SRD as of 31 January 2019)
Official language   Dutch
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 165 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (8.4%)   Manufactured products (59.5%)
Agricultural products (7.5%)   Fuels and mining products (18.4%)
Manufactured products (4.8%)   Agricultural products (15.7%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Switzerland (38.6%)   USA (35.0%)
Hong Kong (22.2%)   Netherlands (17.0%)
Belgium (10.2%)   Trinidad and Tobago (13.0%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Suriname, once known as Dutch Guiana, is one of South America's smallest countries. It was independent from the Netherlands in 1975. The country is a presidential republic with the president as the head of state and head of government, who is elected by the parliament for a five-year term. Former military leader Desire Bouterse was elected to his second term as president in July 2015 after his National Democratic Party (NDP) won a slim majority in parliament. He retains broad popularity in the country, and it is widely expected that he will win a third term in 2020. The legislature is the 51-seats unicameral National Assembly elected for a five-year term by direct universal suffrage. The next legislative election will take place in May 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast 
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (IMF)


The fall in gold and oil prices resulted a deep recession for the country in 2015-16 with cumulative GDP contracted by 9%. The economy has stabilized in recent years due to the recovery of commodity prices and the launch of the Merian gold mine in late 2016, which helped return growth to positive territory since 2017. Recent indicators point to further improvements in economic activity with real GDP growth estimated at 2% in 2018, followed by a gradual acceleration to 3% over the medium term, according to the IMF. Nonetheless, the economy remains heavily dependent on the mineral sector, and faces challenges including slow pace of reforms, rising public debt and large fiscal deficits.

Hong Kong – Suiname Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Suriname increased by 1.1% from HK$41.3 million in 2017 to HK$41.8 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Suriname were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-14.1%), (2) medicinal and pharmaceutical products (+171.6%), and (3) vegetables and fruit (+25.9%), which represented 63.0% of total exports to Suriname.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Suriname buyers. In the past 12 months (from January to December 2018), there was no insured business on Suriname.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 31 January 2019

           
Flag and map of Yemen

 
Key Information
Capital   Sanaa
Population   25.1 million
Area   527,968 sq km
Currency   Yemeni riyal (1 USD = 250.298 YER as of 28 January 2019)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 187 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 139 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 140 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Fuels and mining products (54.7%)   Manufactured goods (48.9%)
Agricultural products (33.8%)   Agricultural products (45.2%)
Manufactured goods (11.0%)   Fuels and mining products (1.5%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

Yemen is the second most populous country in the Arabian Peninsula. It emerged as a republic in 1990 after Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) merged. The country has been facing an unprecedented humanitarian, social and economic crisis due to the on-going civil war. The country is currently loosely split between two governments, one led by Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and the other led by the Houthis. Elections are long overdue and the last parliamentary election was held in 2003. According to EIU, plans for elections and another attempt at drafting a constitution appear unlikely in the long term as the war rages on.

 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Yemen has been listed on the Least Developed Countries by the United Nations since 1971. The country has been highly dependent on its oil and gas resources, which contributed about 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenues. However, the ongoing civil war has devastated the country, creating severe humanitarian, social and economic crisis. Economic activity is estimated to have contracted by about 50% since 2014, according to the World Bank. Cases of malnutrition and severe food insecurity have spiked as the fight for control over strategic port facilities has interrupted critical imports. Economic growth is vulnerable and unsustainable as the country relies heavily on donor support from international governments and organisations. Separately, the country will continue to run a high current account deficit in coming years on account of a weak export base, a depreciating currency and an anticipated decrease in foreign aids
.